Netflix chief creative officer Ted Sarandos disclosed that 26.4 million accounts watched its Martin Scorsese film The Irishman during its first seven days on the streaming service.
Sarandos said he expects that the gangster saga will be seen by 40 million accounts within its first 28 days.
Nielsen estimated that The Irishman had 17 million viewers in its first five days.
Sarandos noted that Netflix counts viewing differently than Nielsen. Even though The Irishman is more than 3 hours long, Netflix stuck to its system of counting only accounts that streamed 70% of the film.
But he added that people don’t watch movies alone, so those 26 million accounts could represent more people viewing.
Sarandos joked that he was getting a lot of credit for taking a big risk on The Irishman, but “betting on a Martin Scorsese mob movie with Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci doesn’t seem like a large bet to me.”
He added that unlike a traditional film, Netflix’s monetization model is different and doesn’t have to depend on a big opening weekend to have a big impact on Netflix’s bottom line.