Murder Mystery Just Set a New Netflix Record, but Is It Too Big to Be True?

With star power like Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, it's no surprise that Netflix's Murder Mystery saw instant success when it hit the streaming platform on June 14. The record-breaking extent of its success, however, was pretty shocking: the Netflix comedy account recently tweeted that over 30 million subscribers — 17,494,949 worldwide and 13,374,914 in the United States and Canada — tuned in to Murder Mystery, making it the biggest opening weekend for a Netflix original movie ever.

That's a lot of views. It's hard to compare Murder Mystery's viewership to another Netflix original film, because the platform is notoriously secretive about its ratings system, but to offer some perspective, Nielsen reported that a little over 18 million viewers tuned in to game six of the recent NBA Finals.

It's important to note, however, that different metric systems are clearly at play here. Nielsen measures viewership by assessing an "average audience," so the average number of people who watched a program, while also taking into account the fact that many people might not watch it in its entirety. For example, it's possible that many more viewers tuned in for the final moments of the NBA Finals as opposed to the beginning of the game, so the average audience is calculated between the two.

Netflix, on the other hand, considers a view as anyone who has simply watched 70 percent of a program, according to a recent report from Vox. So, with a runtime of 97 minutes, Netflix would count someone who watched a little over an hour of Murder Mystery as a view. (Unrelated, but watching an hour of a movie, only to give up with half an hour left, is an odd thing to do.)

That's all to say that Netflix's 30-million viewer estimate might be a little inflated. But did an insane amount of people still tune in to watch Aniston and Sandler flail around Monte Carlo? Without question.