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Since the start of Netflix’s original programming in 2011, the streaming service, like Hulu and Amazon Prime, has been secretive about how many users watch its content. That changed on Wednesday, July 15, when the company released the list of the most popular Netflix movies ever.
The list featured the top 10 most popular Netflix movies that were original to the site, meaning that blockbusters, such as The Incredibles 2, which are available to stream on Netflix but were not originally distributed by the company were not included in this list. Still, there are many favorites—and surprises—in the most popular Netflix movies. There are some similarities among them, however. By far, the most popular genre are action movies or thrillers. And almost all the movies in the first half of the list are led by A-list stars, such as Ryan Reynolds, Chris Hemsworth and Sandra Bullock.
As far as original movies on streaming services go, action or thriller movies with a big-name lead seems to be a winning formula. Take, for example, Apple TV Plus’ original film Greyhound, which was released in July 2020. Not only was the film an action or thriller, it was also led by perhaps one of the most recognizable movie stars of the 21st century.
Of course, there are some surprises in the most popular Netflix movies list. Check out the full top 10 list of the most popular Netflix movies—and how many users watched it in the first four weeks—below.
1. Extraction — 99 million users
2. Bird Box — 89 million users
Bird Box became an internet sensation when it premiered in November 2018. The film was viewed by more than 89 million users in its first four weeks, which is why it came in second on the list of the most popular Netflix movies. The film, based on Josh Malerman’s 2014 novel of the same title, stars Sandra Bullock as Malorie Hayes, a woman who tries to protect herself and her two children from evil supernatural entities that make people go insane and want to kill themselves if they look at them.
Bullock told Cinemablend at the time that she made the movie for her two kids, Louis and Laila. “I made Bird Box because my children asked me why I never made anything for them. So when Bird Box crossed my path, I knew this was a story I needed to make because it was about family,” she said. “And when I finished the film, I went to my babies and I said, ‘Here, mommy made this for you. And even though you can’t see it until you’re 21 because apparently, a movie about being a mommy is a horror film—you will know when you see it that there isn’t anything that I wouldn’t do for you.
3. Spenser Confidential — 85 million users
Spenser confidential comes in third on the list of most popular Netflix movies with 85 million users who watched it in its first four weeks. The action-comedy film stars Mark Wahlberg as a police detective who finds himself in a dangerous situation with his friend’s roommate, Hawk (Winston Duke.) The film, which was released in March 2020, is an adaptation of Ace Atkins’ novel Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland.
4. 6 Underground — 83 million users
6 Underground stars Ryan Reynolds as Gray/One, an American billionaire and philanthropist who fakes his own death to form a vigilante squad take down criminals and terrorists that the government ignores. The film, which also stars Dave Franco and Melanie Laurent, premiered in December 2019. According to Netflix, 83 million users watched it in the first four weeks of its release, which made it one of the most popular Netflix movies.
5. Murder Mystery — 73 million users
Murder Mystery saw Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler reunite as Audrey and Nick Spitz, a married couple who take a trip to Europe for their 15th wedding anniversary and find themselves aboard a yacht of stranger when a murder occurs and they must run from the law while investigating whole the real killer was. The film premiered in June 2019 and was watched by 73 million households in its first four weeks, which is why it’s one of the most popular Netflix movies ever, according to the streaming service.
6. The Irishman — 64.2 million users
Directed by Martin Scorsese, The Irishman was one of Netflix’s award season frontrunners when it premiered in November 2019. The movie, which was viewed by 64.2 million users in its first four weeks, is a crime film based on the 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. The film, which Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, follows a truck driver who becomes a hitman involved with a mobster and his crime family.
In an interview with The Guardian at the time, Scorsese talked about how The Irishman could be his last film. “We have been discussing this a lot, that theatres have been commandeered by superhero films—you know, just people flying around and banging and crashing, which is fine if you want to see it. It’s just that there’s no room for another kind of picture. I don’t know how many more I can make—maybe this is it. The last one,” he said at the time.
7. Triple Frontier — 63 million users
Triple Frontier premiered in March 2019 and was viewed by 63 million viewers in its first four weeks, which made it one of the most popular Netflix movies. The film stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlun and Pedro Pascal as a group of former U.S. Army Delta Force soldiers who reunite to plan a heist of a South American crime lord.
In a Collider interview at the time, Affleck talked about how Netflix was the best home for the movie. “Netflix has shown a willingness to break with convention, to try unusual things. To experiment,” he said at the time. “They’re in a different situation then the studios because the studios start over from scratch every time they put out a movie. Netflix already has 130 million people that they have a relationship with and they can advertise to directly. I think that means they’re not so beholden to that opening weekend idea. You know what I mean? They already sort of have sold the ticket, in a weird way.”
8. The Wrong Missy — 59 million users
The Wrong Missy is a Netflix original romantic comedy that premiered in May 2020. The film was watched by 59 million users in its first four weeks and is the eighth most watched Netflix movie ever. The movie stars David Spade as Tim Morris, a man who’s set up on a blind date with a woman named Missy, played by Lauren Lapkus. As one can expect from a rom com, their date doesn’t go according to plan.
9. The Platform — 56.2 million users
Compared to the other films on this list, The Platform may not be as well-known to American Netflix users. But with 56.2 million households who watched it in its first four weeks, it sure was popular worldwide. The film is a Spanish science fiction horror about a large, tower-style “Vertical Self-Management Center” and its residents, who are switched every 30 days between its floors and are fed only from a platform filled with food at the top floor that descends through each of the tower’s lower levels.
10. The Perfect Date — 48 million users
The Perfect Date sees Netflix teen rom com favorite Noah Centineo return for another on-screen romance. The movie, which was viewed by 48 million users in its first four weeks and is the 10th most popular Netflix movie, stars Centineo as a Brooks Rattigan, a high school senior who creates an app to sell himself as a date to pay for college. Along the way, he meets Celia Lieberman (Laura Marano), who is one of the first women to hire him.