Consider this your latest reminder that the row of content in your Netflix app labeled “Top 10 Movies in the US Today” should probably best be thought of more along the lines of recency (and not what’s actually the best). For example, what do we have sitting here in the #1 spot currently? It’s Tomas Alfredson’s 2017 directorial debut The Snowman, starring Michael Fassbender, which was an adaptation of Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø’s novel of the same name.
There are a few things to consider here, as far as why this Netflix movie is currently performing better than the Last Kingdom standalone film Seven Kings Must Die (a movie, I might add, that’s connected to a Netflix original series with a large and devoted fandom.) First, The Snowman was an absolute flop. It reportedly made just $6.7 million in the US, compared to a production budget of $34 million.
Moreover, both critics and fans seem to think it’s an objectively bad movie. Like, seriously bad. Just look at these Rotten Tomatoes scores: It’s got a 18% score from more than 10,000 audience ratings, and a truly abysmal 6% score from critics (based on 201 reviews). “Honestly, it should probably be shown in one of your early lessons in a film class,” one Rotten Tomatoes audience reviewer opined. “Slap on any given scene and ask the question ‘Now which decisions did you spot that should never have been made in this or any movie?’
“Honestly the only reason it even comes away with a whopping(!) one-and-a-half stars, is that minute to minute, The Snowman is so bizarre, that it actually reaches levels of laugh-out-loud funny.”
So, to recap: It was a bomb at the box office. Critics hate it. Fans think it’s garbage. And yet … it’s the #1 Netflix movie in the US right now?
Consulting my schedule of Netflix releases for the month of April seems to provide the answer. The Snowman hit the streaming giant on April 16 — so, two days ago. As a subscriber, it’s quite a natural behavior to want to zero in on the newest content whenever you’re looking for something to watch on the streaming giant. Sometimes, that decision is even made for you, based on whatever Netflix decides to spotlight in the carousel of content right there at the top of your app.
So, yes, The Snowman is the #1 Netflix movie right now — but it’s not really the #1 movie. It makes more sense to think of it as the Netflix movie that most people are clicking on of the most recent film additions to the streamer. I know, semantics, but I think most people probably have a different idea of what you mean by “#1 movie” compared to what I just laid out in the previous sentence.