Netflix's Bright watched by 11 million people in its first weekend

The big-budget film comparatively performed better than The Crown, but was beaten out by Stranger Things 

Clarisse Loughrey
Saturday 30 December 2017 13:07 GMT
Bright - trailer

As it turns out, the orc cop movie is exactly how people wanted to spend their holidays. Make of that what you will.

Despite being widely panned by critics, the Will Smith-starring Bright is said to have raked in 11 million viewers, according to Nielsen estimates (via Variety). Comparatively, Stranger Things' premiere episode averaged 15.8 million viewers over the same period, according to Nielsen, though Bright did beat out The Crown, which averaged nearly 3 million US viewers in its first three days.

However, it's important to note that Nielsen's numbers may not be foolproof. It only recently started tracking numbers on VOD subscription services, offering only select data, with Netflix itself disputing the accuracy of third-party attempts to measure viewership on its service. For example, Netflix specifically disputed the estimates for Stranger Things, stating they were off by a wide margin.

Nielsen uses audio-based content recognition technology to track viewership on VOD platforms in a panel of TV households, meaning it excludes views on mobile devices and computers, before extrapolating to provide an estimated overall viewership - so there's several opportunities for error.

However, the Nielsen figures do at least provide a rough comparative guide as to what Netflix's biggest-hitters are, placing Bright as a major, but not wildly impressive, entry into the streaming service's catalogue. It does seem, however, as if the film's believed $100 million budget has paid off, with Netflix already ordering a sequel.

Directed by David Ayer, Bright sets itself in an alternate present-day LA, where Smith plays a cop partnered with the LAPD's first orc officer (Joel Edgerton). In this world, orcs are an oppressed race, with elves as the highest-ranking in society, and fairies deemed to be pests. The film's attempts to create an allegory for racial tension has been widely criticised, including by Chance the Rapper.

Netflix has been contacted for comment.

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