The ratings service says the 3.5-hour mob epic drew an average audience of 13.16 million viewers from Nov. 27-Dec. 1, with each day averaging between 2.15 million (Sunday, Dec. 1) and 3.14 million viewers (Friday, Nov. 29). A total of 17.1 million unique viewers watched at least some of the film.
The decades-spanning story starring Robert de Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci was most popular with viewers ages 50 and up, who made up nearly half the average viewership over five days. Nielsen says men 50-64 made up 20 percent of the audience on premiere day and 15 percent of the five-day audience.
Nielsen’s SVOD ratings measure viewing on TV sets only, and only in the United States. Netflix contends the numbers don’t reflect the total audience for its content, as they don’t include worldwide viewing or those who watch on other devices. Like other streaming platforms, Netflix does not regularly release viewing data, though the company highlights a handful of projects in its quarterly earnings reports.
The Irishman drew a considerably larger five-day audience than Breaking Bad follow-up El Camino (8.2 million), but not quite as large as that of Bird Box (16.9 million) in December 2018.
Despite its long running time, however, the proportion of viewers who watched The Irishman (18 percent) in its entirety on Nov. 27 was in line with that of Bird Box (18 percent) and ahead of El Camino (11 percent). Nielsen says 751,000 people finished the movie on premiere day; the high for the weekend was 930,000 on Friday.
The Irishman also had a limited theatrical release prior to its streaming debut. Netflix has not released box office figures. The movie has also been an awards player in the early part of the season, earning best film honors from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle.