Christmas has come early for Netflix. While the streaming giant rarely reports viewing numbers for original television and film offerings, chief content officer Ted Sarandos announced at the December 3 UBS Global Media and Communications Conference (via Business Insider) that “The Christmas Chronicles,” a holiday adventure movie starring Kurt Russell as Santa Clause, earned a massive 20 million streams in its first week on Netflix.
“Even in his successful career, [Kurt Russell] has never had that many people see one of his movies in the first week ever,” Sarandos said. “That’s a testimony to what we can bring to the market for storytellers today that we couldn’t have ten years ago.”
Sarandos estimated that if you compared “The Christmas Chronicles” release to a more traditional theatrical rollout, then the Netflix viewing numbers would translate into a first week gross of $200 million. “Even movies that go on to $1 billion don’t typically do that in the first week,” the Netflix executive said. Since Netflix does not release official viewing numbers, it’s unclear how many of the 20 million streams were repeat viewings.
“The Christmas Chronicles” premiered November 22 on Netflix. The movie, directed by Clay Kaytis of “The Angry Birds Movie,” centers around a brother and sister living in Lowell, Massachusetts who have to save Christmas after they cause Santa’s sleigh to crash land. Russell’s recent theatrical efforts include “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which Business Insider points out made $183 million in its first week. “Christmas Chronicles” costars Judah Lewis and Darby Camp.
The 20 million streams makes “Christmas Chronicles” a giant breakout hit for Netflix. Sarandos’ announcement arrives on the heels of Deadline confirming Netflix and Paramount are moving forward with “To All the Boys I Loved Before 2,” the romantic comedy sequel to one of Netflix’s top-performing original films of 2018.