How Wednesday Broke Stranger Things’ Netflix Viewing Record (What It Means)

Tim Burton’s Wednesday has officially stolen a coveted Netflix viewing record from Stranger Things season 4, which is great news for the streamer. Netflix announced on November 29 that Wednesday, which premiered on November 23, has officially broken the streamer’s record for most hours viewed in a week for an English-language series, clocking 341.2 million hours in its first seven days. This impressive record was previously held by Stranger Things 4, which boasted 335.1 million hours viewed following its initial Netflix release on May 27. Considering Netflix was in search of its next big franchise after Stranger Things’ series-ending season 5, Wednesday has just answered the call.

Stranger Things is considered Netflix’s prize IP, meaning Wednesday’s feat was no easy task. Wednesday taking Stranger Things’ ratings crown is quite shocking given the 3-year-long anticipation, worldwide interest, and epic scale of the latter series. However, Wednesday season 1 had plenty of crucial factors that underscored the success of its launch, not including the actual quality of storytelling and premise of the new Addams Family spinoff. The record-breaking success of Wednesday can largely be attributed to its release timeline, episode count and length, familiarity with the Addams Family franchise (appealing to multiple generations with varying nostalgia for past adaptations), scream queen Jenna Ortega as the lead, and iconic filmmaker Tim Burton attached as the director.

Was Stranger Things 4 Too Long? Why Wednesday Really Beat It

Unlike Stranger Things season 4, Wednesday was released over the extended Thanksgiving weekend in which a significant portion of its intended audience is at home and available to binge this family-appropriate series. Tim Burton’s Addams Family show also had an advantage by featuring eight approximately 45-minute episodes, meaning the entire first season could reasonably be watched in one week. In contrast, Netflix chose a divisive release strategy for Stranger Things 4 by splitting the season into two parts, meaning the streamer isolated some potential viewers who opted to wait until the entire installment was available.

 

Additionally, the average episode length for Stranger Things season 4, part 1, clocked in at approximately one hour and 15 minutes, with the first seven episodes totaling nearly 9 hours of content. Wednesday season 1, on the other hand, totals approximately 6.5 hours, which is arguably easier to binge in only a few sittings. The long-awaited Stranger Things season 4 premiere was also competing for viewership with the premiere of the Star Wars series Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ and Top Gun: Maverick in theaters, whereas Wednesday’s biggest competitor was the finale of the Disney+ series Andor.

Ultimately, Wednesday didn’t require any prior knowledge of the franchise heading into its premiere, yet offered a similar level of nostalgia, supernatural intrigue, and darkness to Stranger Things that appeal to a broad audience. Still, Wednesday’s record-breaking viewership is quite impressive, as the series’ only big-name actors are Jenna Ortega, Gwendoline Christie, and Christina Ricci as leads, with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán in supporting roles. Meanwhile, Stranger Things boasts a cast full of up-and-coming actors, huge stars, and familiar faces like Winona Ryder that add to its appeal. Wednesday was also the anticipated comeback for Tim Burton – whose films from the 2010s largely flopped with critics – which undoubtedly attracted fans of the filmmaker’s gothic work.

What Wednesday’s Record-Breaking Viewership Means For Netflix

Perhaps the most important factor to glean from Wednesday beating Stranger Things’ viewing record is that Netflix has finally found its replacement for the Upside Down-battling series. Wednesday is another supernatural series that draws a key line with its darkness in order to appeal to a broader audience base, delivers nostalgia for multiple generations, and normalizes being an outcast. Despite potential spinoffs being in the works, the popular series Stranger Things is coming to an end after season 5, which inevitably signaled trouble for Netflix, which was already struggling with retaining subscribers throughout 2022. Wednesday certainly appears to solve this issue upon Stranger Things’ ending, as the Addams Family franchise offers plenty of stories for Netflix to continue telling.

Although Netflix has yet to officially renew Wednesday season 2, the record-breaking success of the Jenna Ortega-led series means a return to Nevermore Academy is in store. Wednesday’s season 1 finale cleverly hinted at the potential of another season, with the show’s impressive performance on Netflix now sealing a second installment. It also suggests that Netflix could move forward with more spinoffs of The Addams Family, perhaps focusing on young Gomez and Morticia Addams as students at Nevermore Academy or going even further back to past generations of the kooky bunch. Netflix was missing another huge franchise to adapt further after Stranger Things, with spinoffs of The Addams Family making more sense than offshoots of the former.

Wednesday’s Success Means Netflix’s Next Big Film Will Be Huge

Following Wednesday season 1, Netflix’s next big release is Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. The film is the sequel to Rian Johnson’s hit 2019 murder mystery Knives Out, which boasts an A-list cast and the return of Daniel Craig’s popular detective Benoit Blanc. Glass Onion is dropping on Netflix on December 23 – just in time for another peak holiday. Considering Wednesday’s Thanksgiving release slot stole record-breaking viewership from Stranger Things, Glass Onion’s Christmas release is apt to similarly smash records on Netflix, potentially becoming the streamer’s most-watched movie of all time.

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Author: Seebal Rana

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