Movies & TV / Columns

Was The Irishman Hurt By Its Netflix Release?

December 8, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
The Irishman

Lost in all the debate over the Streaming Wars currently going on is the fact that Netflix is changing the way we take in our entertainment. 

The stigma of straight-to-video is disappearing with more and more quality actors and directors finding projects on streaming platforms, Hollywood is grudgingly starting to admit that times are changing and the old way of doing things is no longer the best way of doing things. 

No better example can be found that Martin Scorsese and The Irishman, which Nielsen reports had 13 million viewers Over five days.

Nielsen also said that 17 million people watched at least a few minutes of the film over its first weekend, for whatever that means. Specifically, the mob drama 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.

But did being on Netflix hurt the status of The Irishman and how would it have performed at the box office? The sprawling epic had an all-star cast with Robert de Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, who are all connected t mafia classics. To get them to take part in a Netflix-only project is a story in itself. 

Yes,  The Irishman had a limited theatrical release prior to its streaming debut and Netflix has not released box office figures  but imagine it with a different marketing campaign with the focus of seeing these legends on the big screen again? 

We can only guess how it would have done with a wider releases. The one issue with Netflix is how fast movies and show come and go. With the ability to binge watch something, a program has a much shorter shelf life. While Stranger Things will be the hottest thing in pop culture for a week after its release, it’s soon replaced by something else. 

On the flip, look at how The Mandalorian is sustaining its popularity by releasing it in a weekly format. 

With The Irishman, it has gotten a fair share of attention but that’s dying down quickly after a week. How much different would it be if it had a bigger theater run? How will it compare to other iconic Scorsese movies like Casino or Goodfellas? Not as well thanks to the system Netflix has in place.

What did you think of The Irishman and how does it compare to other Scorsese films? 

article topics :

Netflix, The Irishman, Steve Gustafson