In the wake of a global pandemic, a story about private zookeeper Joe Exotic and his animal activist rival Carole Baskin has gripped the planet. Netflix’s documentary series Tiger King has it all: A potential murder mystery, celebrities hanging out with big cats, and so much baffling behaviour from its wild cast of characters Twitter has made an endless scroll of memes. Yet even with all the chatter about Tiger King, you may be surprised just how many people have binged the show.
According to data acquired by Nielsen, per Vulture, Tiger King drew an average of 19 million U.S. television viewers in its first 10 days on the streamer. All those Zoom meetings where you pleaded with your friends to watch the bananas docuseries worked, apparently: The show picked up a steady stream of new viewers each day it remained on the platform.
While Tiger King has permeated our culture, sometimes Netflix’s big winners are more surprising. In 2019, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston’s Murder Mystery was the most-watched movie on the platform, despite little fanfare surrounding the film. It even surpassed the highly-anticipated Stranger Things 3, which was in second place on the list.
Comparatively, Stranger Things 2 received 17.5 million views in its first 10 days, meaning that Exotic’s story topped even one of the most well-known shows on the platform. (Stranger Things 3 just eked out Tiger King, with 20.5 million viewers, according to Vulture.)
Still, Tiger King is allegedly pretty far behind 2018 original film Bird Box, which reportedly saw over 45 million views in its first week alone, according to the Netflix Twitter account. It’s worth noting that Netflix has its own metrics for determining what equates a single “view” which may not equate to others determinations.
Much like Tiger King, however, Bird Box was relentlessly memed and discussed on social media. Maybe the only thing Netflix really needs to create a successful piece of content is to throw an animal in the title.