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‘365 Days’ Dominates Netflix: How a Polish Erotic Film Became a Surprise #1 Hit

A controversial plot, TikTok, and one internet-breaking sex scene are turning "365 Days" into a Netflix sensation.

"365 Days"

“365 Days”

Netflix

Netflix’s most-watched movie chart has seen its fair share of eye-rolling No. 1 titles in recent weeks, from the gross-out David Spade comedy “The Wrong Missy” to the awful thriller “The Last Days of American Crime” (which sports a zero percent on Rotten Tomatoes from 21 reviews), but no chart topper has been as gratuitous as “365 Days.” The erotic Polish romance drama from directors Barbara Bialowas and Tomasz Mandes has become Netflix’s most-streamed movie just two days after its June 7 streaming debut. Why the seemingly out-of-nowhere skyrocket to No. 1? It helps when your movie is nicknamed the “Polish 50 Shades of Grey.”

“365 Days” is based on an erotic novel by author Blanka Lipinska and was a box office hit in Poland after opening in February and grossing nearly $9 million in its home country. Michele Morrone stars as Massimo, a member of a Sicilian mafia family who fails to protect his father from an assassination after being distracted by a beautiful woman. Massimo becomes so obsessed with the woman, a Polish sales agent named Laura, that he kidnaps and imprisons her. Massimo gives Laura 365 days to fall in love with him or else she can go back to her unhappy life in Poland.

The only thing more headline-generating than the film’s problematic love story rooted in date rape and Stockholm syndrome (yes, there’s growing backlash about it) are the over-the-top softcore sex scenes that have earned “365 Days” comparisons to the “50 Shades” franchise. The sex scenes have ignited so much curiosity on social media that it’s now become a TikTok trend to post videos of yourself watching “365 Days.” Think of it as a TikTok challenge that’s only driving more viewers to stream the title. Just as TikTok has helped songs surge in popularity (see Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” as one example), so is it generating interest around “365 Days.” The #365Days hashtag on TikTok currently has 146.6 million video views and counting.

Also helping the film’s chart dominance is that Netflix counts a “view” as two minutes of streaming time, which is great news for a movie with softcore sex scenes that have set social media on fire. A majority of viewers are more likely to check out a sex scene to see what all the fuss is about than they are to watch the entire two-hour film, but that’s a “view” for “365 Days” nonetheless. The most shocking sex scene is a four-minute montage set aboard Massimo’s yacht that includes graphic depictions of oral sex and various sex positions. The scene has dominated the film’s social media buzz as viewers have been left to debate if the sex scene is un-simulated or not. Even if viewers are just watching the yacht scene out of curiosity (and make no mistake many are), “365 Days” is reaping in the benefits on the chart.

It should also be noted that “365 Days” is a brand new movie to Netflix’s streaming library, which often helps a title break onto the Netflix charts. Chart entries are almost always newer additions to Netflix, but the social media attention around the “365 Days” sex scenes should give it longer legs on the chart.

As of June 9, “365 Days” is the No. 1 film on Netflix and the No. 2 overall program after the Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why.” If the “50 Shades” trilogy was able to gross $1.3 billion in theaters worldwide, than “365 Days” should have no problem being a blockbuster performer for Netflix, as the only place to watch the softcore erotic romance is in the privacy of your own home.

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