EXCLUSIVE: Thunder Force, Netflix’s superhero action comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer, is on pace to draw 52 million global views in its first 28 days.
That projection comes from Kira Goldberg, VP Studio Film at Netflix, who included the stat in a blog post about her motivation to green-light the project.
The 52 million number is substantial but it would not rank Thunder Force in the top echelon of all-time top Netflix original movies. Extraction leads that list with 99 million, but the roster of comedies is more rarified, with Murder Mystery (73 million) and The Wrong Missy (59 million). More recently, I Care a Lot has attracted 56 million views and Yes Day 62 million.
Netflix reported earlier this week it had 207.6 million global subscribers as of the end of March. Since a shift in methodology a couple of years ago, it has defined a view as any sampling of at least a two-minute portion of a title.
Directed by Ben Falcone, who is McCarthy’s husband and frequent collaborator, the film centers on two women who were childhood best friends before becoming estranged. As adults, they reunite after one devises a treatment that gives them the powers to protect their city from supervillains.
“We typically see the same type of superhero story: a dark brooding hero saving the world,” Goldberg wrote. “This was a fresh way to deliver a classic superhero concept, dramatically strengthened by the central narrative of lifelong friendships and the ways in which women can combine to become a powerful force.”
Netflix has recently been making a push for inclusiveness in front of and behind the camera. In February, the company and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released a study of Netflix content. It found that 48.4% of the streaming service’s films had women as leads/co-leads versus 41% of top-grossing films released from January 2018 to December 2019.
“Beyond superheroes, it’s important to continue to break the prototypical roles women can play,” Goldberg added.
Similar to Yes Day, which has a broad-audience sensibility, Thunder Force is calibrated for family viewing.
“Too often superhero movies are too dark and comedies too raunchy to enjoy as a family,” Goldberg observed. “We wanted Thunder Force to be something that teens, parents (and yes, my 9- and 12-year-old) could enjoy separately and together.”
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