Netflix shocked the industry when it bought Dee Rees’ historical drama “Mudbound” for a whopping $12.5 million at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Because Netflix does not give its movies significant theatrical releases, many journalists were left wondering if an audience would show up to watch “Mudbound” on the streaming giant, but it turns out nobody had to worry. According to Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings, “Mudbound” has been streamed for over 20 million hours.
Hastings revealed the “Mudbound” data during his TED Talk with TED curator Chris Anderson, which is now available to stream online. Netflix has received backlash for prioritizing streaming over theatrical releases, but Hastings said “Mudbound” is proof it’s a method that’s worth. The CEO claimed “Mudbound” would not have gotten a similar turnout if it was only released in theaters. “Mudbound” played in select theaters for an awards-qualifying run.
“Sometimes you just want to relax and watch a show like [cooking documentary series] ‘Nailed It,’ its fun and its not stressful, but other times people want to watch really intensive films,” Hastings said. “‘Mudbound,’ which was Oscar-nominated, its a great, very intensive movie. We’ve had over 20 million hours of viewing on ‘Mudbound,’ which is dramatically bigger than what it would’ve been in theaters or any other distribution.”
“Mudbound” earned four Oscar nominations earlier this year at the Oscars, which no doubt attracted more eyeballs to the streaming platform. The film is now streaming on Netflix.