On Wednesday, I was on the subway to work, and I wound up standing next to someone watching The Irishman on a tablet. Yesterday, the woman sitting next to me on the subway was watching it on her phone. I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw two different people watching the same thing on consecutive days on the subway. Martin Scorsese might not be happy with how people are watching it, but clearly folks are curious about the movie.

According to numbers released by NielsenThe Irishman was watched by “17.1 million unique Netflix viewers in the U.S. in the first five days of its streaming release.” It also had an “average minute audience” (meaning how long people watched) of 13.2 million — which is more than El Camino, the Breaking Bad movie (8.2 million), but less than Bird Box (16.9 million), the Sandra Bullock thriller that became enormously popular over the holidays last year for Netflix.

As noted by The New York TimesBrooks Barnes, “even if half that number [of viewers] had gone to see it in theaters, ticket sales would have been about $54 million using average ticket price.” Of course, if you pay for Netflix it costs you nothing to sample The Irishman, or any of their other programming, which might lead to people checking out the film even though they never would have gone out of their way to watch it. But if the goal is getting and keeping eyeballs on the Netflix service in a time of increased competition, The Irishman certainly did that so far.

Gallery — Every Scorsese Movie Ranked From Worst to Best:


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