Damn reviews! Netflix's new comedy The Man From Toronto has risen to the top of the streamer's weekly charts, despite scathing reviews.
The assassin-themed action flick, which stars Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson in the lead roles, was described by critics as "woefully unfunny" and "other unimaginative content" before its June 24 release, but that It hasn't stopped the movie racking up nearly 50 million hours of Netflix viewing (opens in a new tab) in just two days.
According to the film's synopsis, The Man From Toronto sees "the world's deadliest killer" (Harrelson) and "New York's biggest mistake" (Hart) combined when the latter arrives early at an Airbnb rental. Naturally, chaos ensues, and the pair embark on a cat-and-mouse adventure involving cops, criminals, and car chases.
To no one's surprise, this seemingly algorithmic premise did not appeal to critics. The film currently has a critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in a new tab) of just 28%, putting it in the miserable company of other recent Netflix blockbusters: Spiderhead (42% (opens in new tab)), Interceptor (44% (opens in new tab)), Red Notice (37% (opens in new tab)), and Last Year (24% (opens in new tab)).
Interestingly, though, all five of the films certified as "Rotten" reached the top of Netflix's weekly charts in their respective first weeks of release. The Senior Year with Rebel Wilson, for example, racked up 62,4 million hours of viewing in defiance of its critics, who stated that it was "hard to imagine a more distasteful film".
The streamer's weekly performance reports (opens in a new tab), which track the total number of hours subscribers around the world watch titles over a seven-day period, appear to be steadily fueling the fire of a growing trend for Netflix. : cursed movies seem to draw viewers week after week.
Analysis: Another Shallow Netflix Hit?
At first glance, that doesn't make much sense: why do audiences turn to terrible movies on a regular basis? – but there are several logical reasons why The Man From Toronto and Senior Year have worked so well for the streamer.
The most obvious is the question of taste: critical reactions are not the alpha and omega of a movie's success. As TechRadar entertainment editor Tom Goodwyn explained in his recent defense of Netflix's action epic Interceptor: sometimes audiences just want to unplug their brains after a long day.
Elsa Pataky plays a no-nonsense army officer in the critically maligned Interceptor (Image credit: Netflix)
Not every movie has to be Citizen Kane, and there's nothing wrong with the occasional paint-by-number comedy or uninspired thriller if Netflix keeps churning out award-worthy projects: Stranger Things, The Power of the Dog, etc. in other places.
Also, these non-original blockbusters seem to do the trick for the streamer. While Netflix can benefit from movies that audiences clearly engage with en masse, it's hard to fault their treadmill approach to producing them.
On the other hand, there is the question of choice: do Netflix subscribers - those who have been so outspoken critics of the platform's recent content release - only watch these movies for lack of quality alternatives? Without conducting a large-scale customer survey, it's a difficult conundrum to solve, but the possibility certainly exists.
It also doesn't help the cause when movies like The Man From Toronto defy their lack of quality to become, in the eyes of Netflix statisticians, blockbusters. When these safe and shallow projects rack up 50 million watch hours in just two days, their success may justify the streamer's decision to cancel other really worthwhile projects (such as those previously in development in their animation department), which would greatly improve the quality of service. . usually.
Still, Netflix bosses won't complain if the company's stock price goes up, and millions of subscribers seem happy to consistently embrace their blockbusters, regardless of their stance on IMDb. And with a cheaper, ad-supported subscription tier to the streamer coming soon, there could be a lot more room on the table for all sorts of Netflix movies and TV shows in the near future.