Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation watched by over 3m people
Staff Reporter | On 28, Oct 2015
Beasts of No Nation has been watched by more than 3 million people on US Netflix.
The movie, directed by Cary Fukunaga and starring Idris Elba, is the first original film to be released by the streaming service – a bold step into the traditional Hollywood arena, as the site seeks to establish itself as an acclaimed producer, as well as distributor. Indeed, the film is already talked about as an awards contender next year, following two Oscar nominations for Netflix for its documentary line-up.
Cinemas, though, have not welcomed Netflix’s attempt to disrupt the old-school world of showbiz, with many chains boycotting the day-and-date release of Beasts this month. The film was screened in a total of 31 cinemas, earning just £32,800 in its first weekend – far below the £7.8 million paid by Netflix for the exclusive distribution rights. For Netflix, though, the theatrical release makes Beasts eligible for the awards race – and for the filmmakers, Netflix promises a wider audience than the usual theatrical circuit, particularly for a smaller art-house project. Netflix, don’t forget, has 69 million subscribers, including 43 million in the US.
Indeed, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos tells Deadline that the film has reached “a bigger audience than any specialty film could ever hope for in its first two weeks of release”.
In its first week. the movie was the most watched title in every country the site operates in, including Japan, Brazil and Mexico, where such films would normally never open. In North America alone, the film has already received 3 million views.
The fact that Netflix, which famously doesn’t reveal any viewing figures for its content, is willing to divulge such statistics is a sign of just how serious the streaming giant is about its new initiative.
The company is even gearing up to distribute the film theatrically in Africa, in Ghana and Nigeria, where Netflix does not have any presence.
That ambition is only getting bigger for future projects, though. Sarandos says that the site could step up to $100 million feature, if it was the right fit.
“There’s no financial constraints that say we couldn’t do that,” he tells Deadline. “It might not make sense, though, depending on the profile of the movie. But if you look at a movie like War Machine or Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous Six coming in December, these are studio-sized films. We didn’t make those films for less than Sony or Warner Bros would have. Same with War Machine. You don’t get Brad Pitt to come and make movies on a small scale. There are some other ones, like the film we’re doing with Angelina Jolie, where they are struggling to get made. And we have a better economic model and a large global platform. I think filmmakers of all different profiles are embracing that.”