'Triple Frontier' Was Viewed by 52 Million Households in First Month, Netflix Claims

The streamer also hints that 'The Highwaymen' is tracking to rack up 40 million views in its first month.

J.C. Chandor's action pic Triple Frontier, starring Ben Affleck, was viewed by 52 million households in its first month, Netflix disclosed Tuesday in its letter to shareholders. 

The streaming service is secretive about its ratings data for most titles. But when it does reveal viewership, Netflix measures how many of its subscribers watch at least 70 percent of a title. 

By comparison, Sandra Bullock's Bird Box was watched by 80 million member households in its first four weeks in late 2018, the streamer said at the time. 

Chandor's heist movie also stars Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal. The story follows a crew of U.S. Special Forces veterans who try to steal a South American drug lord's ill-gotten gains. Unsurprisingly, things do not go entirely as planned.

Netflix also touted viewership numbers for The Highwaymen, starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, saying it is tracking to attract 40 million member households in its first month.

One title that wasn't mentioned in terms of viewership was Alfonso's Oscar-winning Roma, which debuted on the service in late December.

Netflix, which joined the Motion Picture Association of America in January, has been steadily increasing its focus on providing original feature films to its nearly 149 million subscribers. But the streamer continues to irk theater owners, who have refused to carry its films because it doesn't adhere to traditional theatrical windows. Instead, Netflix films like Roma have had limited theatrical releases.

In a taped Q&A on Tuesday, content chief Ted Sarandos said his dream would be to have a Netflix film open in 2,000 theaters on the same day that it debuts on the streaming service. "If people want to go out and have a good time and pick a great movie, and if we're making the great movie and they don't have the opportunity to see it on a screen, they don't go out," he added. "The opportunity would be to give consumers as much choice as possible but we can only control what's on Netflix." 

On the TV side, the streamer announced viewership numbers for some of its original 2019 TV shows, including the comic book adaptation The Umbrella Academy, which was watched by 45 million households in its first month. 

Looking ahead to the rest of this year, Netflix touted two high-profile original movies: Martin Scorsese's The Irishman and Michael Bay's Six Underground, starring Ryan Reynolds.

There's speculation that Scorsese wants a wide release for The Irishman, a period mob pic starring Robert De Niro as infamous union leader and alleged hitman Frank Sheeran and Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa. But to book the upcoming movie in hundreds of theaters in the U.S. would require Netflix to honor the traditional theatrical window — something it has resisted to date.