'El Camino' Draws Solid Opening-Weekend Viewing, Nielsen Says

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Still 1 - Publicity - H 2019
Ben Rothstein/Netflix

The continuation of Aaron Paul's Breaking Bad story pulled in a good-sized audience over its opening weekend, and continued that run over the rest of its first week of release.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie averaged more than than 6.5 million viewers over its first three days of release on Netflix, according to Nielsen's SVOD Content Ratings. The movie, which follows Jesse Pinkman (Paul) in the aftermath of his escape from captivity in the 2013 series finale and features a host of cameos from key Breaking Bad figures, debuted Friday on the streamer, six years after its run on AMC ended.

Per Nielsen, El Camino had an average minute audience — the closest thing to Nielsen's linear TV ratings for streaming shows — of 6.54 million over its first three days of release. About 40 percent of that audience, a little under 2.65 million people, watched on day one. The ratings service also says 8.2 million people watched at least a few minutes of the film.

Netflix contends that Nielsen measurements of its programming aren't accurate because they count TV viewership only and don't include viewing on other devices. Nielsen also only measures U.S. audiences; the limited data Netflix has released for its shows and films are worldwide figures.

For its part, the streamer says more than 25.7 million member households worldwide watched El Camino within seven days of release. Netflix's "views" metric means a member account has watched 70 percent of a feature film or 70 percent of one episode of a series.

In the Nielsen figures, the biggest chunk of the audience came among adults 18-34, who accounted for 1.08 million viewers on opening day and 2.34 million over the weekend. People ages 35-49 were the next largest segment, with 738,000 watching on day one and just under 1.9 million seeing the film sometime during the weekend. 

The opening-day audience would have fit in nicely with most of the show's run. Before viewership exploded in the back half of the show's fifth and last season, Breaking Bad never drew more than 2.93 million same-day viewers for an episode. The final eight episodes averaged a little above 6 million same-day viewers, concluding with more than 10 million for the series finale.

El Camino also seems to have inspired a spike in viewing for the original series. In the week leading up to the movie's release, the average audience for Breaking Bad on Netflix was 153,000 viewers. For the three weeks prior to that, the series averaged 62,000 viewers.

Oct. 23, 10:10 a.m. Updated with Netflix viewing figures over seven days.