With the Academy Awards coming up this Sunday, the attention is on for this year’s nominees. At the top of the pack is Netflix’s critically-acclaimed drama from director Alfonso Cuarón, Roma, with ten nominations including for Best Picture, tied with only The Favourite for the most nominations.
One of the nagging questions has been though just how successful Roma has been with general audiences. Unlike every other Best Picture nominee this year, since Roma was distributed by Netflix, it never received a traditional multi-month theatrical run. Instead, the streamer opted to make the film available nearly simultaneously in both theaters and available to stream online via the Netflix site.
“Roma” may be playing in more theaters than expected, but streaming remains its primary home. Netflix declined to say how “Roma” has performed online in the United States, but said it had caught fire in Mexico: Mr. Cuarón’s film has been viewed on 50 percent of Netflix’s Mexico accounts, or nearly four million, ranking as the service’s second most popular original movie ever in the country, behind “Bird Box.” To count as a “view,” at least 70 percent of the movie must be streamed, Netflix said.
Now while these viewership numbers in Mexico seem quite impressive, it is important to note the difference between a Netflix account and a Netflix viewer. If you’re like most people who use a streaming platform, you probably share your account with others – maybe your significant other, your children, or some friends. Plus, we still don’t know how well Roma did in America, Netflix’s biggest market in terms of subscribers.
Still, half of all subscribers in Roma‘s home country watching the film is quite an impressive achievement for a black-and-white, contemplative movie. While those viewers may not have gotten the full (excellent) experience of seeing the film in theaters, Roma in a way gained in the end for getting a much wider audience reach than it likely would have otherwise.