Netflix has revealed its 10 most popular original movies for the first time ever

We also now have a good idea what the winning formula is for original content: be an action/thriller with a big-name star.

Netflix has revealed its 10 most popular original movies for the first time ever
[Photos: 6 Underground, Bird Box: courtesy of Netflix; Extraction: Jasin Boland/Netflix; Spenser Confidential: Daniel McFadden/Netflix]

Netflix, like many streaming services, has long been cagey about revealing specifics about its content. While Netflix and other streaming services will boast about their subscriber numbers, they generally keep information about what their subscribers are watching closer to their chest.


But today Netflix has revealed what its 10 most popular original movies are for the first time ever. This revelation is significant because it gives us a look into one of the most important metrics a streaming service has: how well its original content is performing. Original content is, after all, a streaming service’s bread and butter. It’s the content that sets them apart from other streaming services—the content you can’t get anywhere else.

And now we know how popular some of that said content is. Here are Netflix’s 10 most popular original movies ranked by total audience in the first four weeks of the movie’s debut on the streaming service:

  1. Extraction: 99 million
  2. Bird Box: 89 million
  3. Spenser Confidential: 85 million
  4. 6 Underground: 83 million
  5. Murder Mystery: 73 million
  6. The Irishman: 64.2 million
  7. Triple Frontier: 63 million
  8. The Wrong Missy: 59 million
  9. The Platform: 56.2 million
  10. The Perfect Date: 48 million

As Bloomberg points out, the top four films all have a few things in common: They are all either action movies or thrillers. And they all feature big-name stars—in this case: Chris Hemsworth, Sandra Bullock, Mark Wahlberg, and Ryan Reynolds.

And that combination of action/thriller plus big-name star might be the mash-up that streaming services need to compete going forward as the market grows ever more crowded. Just yesterday Deadline reported that the film Greyhound, which debuted on Apple TV Plus last weekend, had the largest-ever opening-weekend release for Apple’s streaming service. And what did Greyhound offer? It’s an action/thriller starring a big name: Tom Hanks.

It looks like we finally know what the winning content formula is in the streaming wars.

About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at