October 17, 2019
Netflix’s big-budget “Breaking Bad” movie sequel (El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie) from creator Vince Gilligan offers a lengthy tale of morality and redemption through the gritty eyes of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) — the meth-cooking partner-in-crime to high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), whose character perished in the 2013 series finale.
El Camino — name of the 1978 Chevrolet Pinkman made his escape in the series conclusion — premiered on Netflix Oct. 11, reportedly generated 8.2 million viewers in the United States opening weekend, including an average of 6.5 million per minute, and 2.6 million per minute opening day, according Nielsen.
The viewership was on par with the “Breaking Bad” series run, with opening day streaming of El Camino topping the 1.5 million average household views for “Breaking Bad” episodes.
Some media reports say the data portended a strong theatrical weekend if Netflix bothered to distribute original movies via industry norms.
The data made news largely based on the “Breaking Bad” legacy and the fact Netflix remains secretive about ratings data of original programming.
Netflix has downplayed Nielsen data in the past contending it is limited to TV households and excludes portable devices and international viewership.
It also suggests the possibility El Camino hasn’t generated as much traction with subscribers as might be expected compared with other high-profile Netflix movies. Or perhaps Nielsen disclosed incomplete data.
Regardless, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CCO Ted Sarandos made no mention of the movie during the service’s Oct. 16 fiscal webcast — which was noteworthy.
The service last year said a lot early about Bird Box, Sandra Bullock’s dystopian thriller that attracted 45 million households during its first week of release.
Kevin Costner’s Bonnie & Clyde thriller, The Highwaymen, generated 40-million first-month views, and Ben Affleck auctioneer Triple Frontier attracted 52 million households in 30 days.
The Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston original comedy Murder Mystery set an all-time weekend Netflix streaming record with 30.87 million views. Another 20 million streamed The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus.
On the Oct. 16 webcast, however, Sarandos just talked about pending movie releases 6 Underground, The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes, among others.
“It’s our first time we’ve seen the scale and this volume of films in one quarter, so we’re really excited about it,” Sarandos said.
So where’s the El Camino excitement?