'The Irishman' Viewed by 26 Million Members, Netflix Says

Content chief Ted Sarandos predicts that the mob drama will reach an audience of 40 million member households within its first 28 days.

Martin Scorsese's The Irishman was viewed by 26.4 million households in its first week on Netflix, according to content chief Ted Sarandos. The executive, speaking Tuesday at the UBS Global TMT Conference, also predicted that the mob drama will reach an audience of 40 million households within its first 28 days. 

Based on the disclosure, that means about 16 percent of all Netflix global account holders watched the film in the week following its Nov. 27 release. While that is a significant portion of the company's user base, especially for a three-and-a-half-hour movie, it's still not as large of an audience as for Sandra Bullock starrer Bird Box, which drew 45 million viewers in its first seven days in December 2018.

Netflix's audience metric, which is not verified by a third party, counts a viewer as someone who watches at least 70 percent of a film. It also doesn't count multiple viewers using the same account. 

"He was very happy," Sarandos said of Scorsese, reminding the UBS conference attendees that the filmmaker had tried to make the The Irishman for 13 years before Netflix took a bet on the $140 million project. "Betting that Martin Scorsese is going to make a great movie with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci and Al Pacino is not that big of a stretch." 

Netflix's disclosure comes after Nielsen previously reported that the three-and-a-half-hour film drew an average U.S. audience of nearly 13.2 million viewers during its first five days and had a total of 17.1 million unique viewers. 

The Irishman also had a limited theatrical release, but Netflix hasn't disclosed box office revenue.