Week-in-review: Netflix Reveals Its Popular Movies, Hawkeye Gets Directors, And Julia Roberts Joins a Sam Esmail Thriller

    Netflix Reveals Its Most Popular Movies… Or Does It?

    COVID-19 pandemic has been profitable for streaming services. In fact, it has been so good that even Netflix, a service notoriously secretive about the popularity of its content, recently released a list of its most popular original movies. Here they are in order:

    Extraction (2020) – 99 million views
    Bird Box (2018) – 89 million views
    Spenser Confidential (2020) – 85 million views
    6 Underground (2019) – 83 million views
    Murder Mystery (2019) – 73 million views
    The Irishman (2019) – 64 million views
    Triple Frontier (2019) – 63 million views
    The Wrong Missy (2020) – 59 million views
    The Platform (2019) – 56 million views
    The Perfect Date (2019) – 48 million views

    An article by SlashFilm correctly warn that the numbers above represent the views during each film’s first four weeks of release, making them a bit less impressive. Furthermore, it is critical to note that Netflix considers a view whenever someone watches at least two minutes of any given title. Consequently, while these numbers show people prefer some content over others, they don’t inform us how significant that popularity is.

    Case in point: this week, AVClub reported Netflix bragging on Twitter about the popularity of its sci-fi actioner The Old Guard. The streaming giant claims the movie featuring Charlize Theron is “already among the top 10 most popular Netflix films ever” and is “on track to reach 72 million households in its first four weeks.” Since The Old Guard came out five days before the reveal of the list above, this means that either the film gained views really slowly or the list was outdated by the time of its release. In either case, this just proves you can’t trust the streaming platforms with their view numbers.

    Marvel’s Hawkeye TV Series Getting Its Directors

    Disney hired first directors for Marvel’s Hawkeye TV series: screenwriting and directing team Amber Finlayson and Katie Ellwood. Under the name Bert and Bertie, this creative duo previously helmed Amazon’s coming-of-age film Troop Zero. They also directed episodes of shows like The Great (starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult) and Kidding featuring Jim Carrey. Another director on team Hawkeye is Rhys Thomas, director of shows like Saturday Night Live, Documentary Now!, and Comrade Detective.

    Hawkeye will focus on the titular Marvel superhero Hawkeye, AKA Clint Barton, who will be played in the show (as he was in the movies) by Jeremy Renner. According to an article by The Hollywood Reporter, one of the possible arcs for the show might be Hawkeye training a new archer as his replacement. A while ago, Marvel was in talks with actress Hailee Steinfeld (Bumblebee, True Grit) for this role, but it is as yet unclear if anything came from these negotiations. Jonathan Igla (Mad Men) will write the scripts while also serving as an executive producer for the show.

    Marvel’s Hawkeye was first announced last year by Marvel and Disney as one of their many, many standalone TV shows set in the Marvel universe. These include – among others – WandaVision, Loki, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk. First of these limited-run TV shows – The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – was initially set to premiere on Disney + this August. However, then the pandemic halted the show’s production. It isn’t clear yet how this will impact release dates for other Marvel TV shows, let alone their production schedules.

    Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington to Reunite for a Sam Esmail Thriller

    Almost three decades after they co-starred in the 1993 crime thriller The Pelican Brief, Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington will reunite for yet another thriller titled Leave the World Behind, claims the AVClub. Based on a still unpublished novel by the writer and columnist Rumaan Alam, the premise sounds intriguing: during a vacation in a rented, remote house, a family meets its owners who claim the city experienced a mysterious blackout. With no access to communication or electricity, there is no way to confirm their story. Soon enough, vacationers grow increasingly wary of the owners.

    Behind the project is Sam Esmail, who drew notice with his paranoia-fueled TV series Mr. Robot. Esmail already collaborated with Roberts in 2018 on Homecoming, Amazon’s psychological thriller series he directed and executive produced. Roberts portrayed the leading role in the show’s first season – that of a social worker in a rehabilitation center for veterans who begins to suspect its managers are up to something nefarious. Adaptation rights for Alam’s as-yet-unpublished novel caused a bidding war between Netflix, Apple, and MGM. Netflix won after reportedly offering a seven-figure deal. HarperCollins publishing imprint Ecco will publish Leave the World Behind this fall.

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