'The Irishman' Drew 17 Million Viewers Over Its First Weekend, According To Nielsen

Netflix is cagey when it comes to their viewership numbers, and they've previously stated they have no plans to release numbers for The Irishman, their new crime epic from Martin Scorsese. But thanks to ratings service Nielsen, we now have somewhat of an idea about how the movie did during its launch. Per their reporting, at least "17.1 million unique viewers" watched at least some of the film.

THR has the scoop on The Irishman ratings, stating that the Martin Scorsese film "drew an average audience of 13.16 million viewers from Nov. 27-Dec. 1, with each day averaging between 2.15 million (Sunday, Dec. 1) and 3.14 million viewers (Friday, Nov. 29). A total of 17.1 million unique viewers watched at least some of the film."

But here's the catch: Nielsen numbers only track TV sets, and only in the U.S. In other words, if you're watching The Irishman on your iPad in Canada, Neilsen isn't picking that up. As a result, Netflix has previously shrugged off Nielsen as not being representative of their true view numbers. So take all of this with a grain of salt. But going off the numbers we have available, The Irishman did better than recent Breaking Bad follow-up film El Camino, but didn't quite have the same success as last year's Thanksgiving release from Netflix, Bird Box.

However, THR adds:

Despite its long running time, however, the proportion of viewers who watched The Irishman (18 percent) in its entirety on Nov. 27 was in line with that of Bird Box (18 percent) and ahead of El Camino (11 percent). Nielsen says 751,000 people finished the movie on premiere day; the high for the weekend was 930,000 on Friday.

While I'm glad to see people are sticking with the film despite its runtime, I'll admit I'm a little disappointed that a new masterpiece from Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, isn't drawing more viewers than Bird Box, which was an average movie at best. But hey, Bird Box definitely makes for much easier viewing – you can turn it on and tune out, in other words.

In any case, I'm happy The Irishman is finding its audience, because I can only imagine what would've happened if this had been a wide theatrical release, where original, non-franchise movies struggle to draw a crowd.