Ted Sarandos thinks Barbenheimer would have been just as big on Netflix

Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos says there’s no reason that Barbie and Oppnehimer wouldn’t have done just as well on streaming.

We all know that Barbie and Oppenheimer were two of the biggest box office hits of 2023, partly due to this shared release date but also because they just stole the collective attention of a diverse group of moviegoers. But would Barbenheimer have gotten as much attention had they not been released on the same day and would they have earned the same amount of viewers? Well, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos seems to think so…

Speaking with The New York Times, Ted Sarandos made his case that the undeniable successes of both Barbie and Oppenheimer had much less to do with the cinemagoing experience or the power that Barbenheimer held than most think. As Sarandos put it, “Both of those movies would be great for Netflix. They definitely would have enjoyed just as big an audience on Netflix. And so I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that certain kinds of movies do or don’t work. There’s no reason to believe that the movie itself is better in any size of screen for all people.” He added, “My son’s an editor. He is 28 years old, and he watched Lawrence of Arabia on his phone.” OK, not to be that guy but Lawrence of Arabia simply shouldn’t be viewed on a phone of any kind. Heck, even seeing it on 70mm made me hesitant to ever rewatch it on a home setup. Are we to believe that those who love film truly think a movie of this scope should be watched on an iPhone?

So let’s take a quick look at Ted Sarandos’ claim, shall we? First, it’s almost impossible to perfectly link box office numbers to streaming views, but there’s no reason we can’t entertain it with figures we have. According to The Numbers, Barbie sold 59 million tickets while Oppenheimer sold 30 million tickets. Let’s say each ticket marks one view; in this case, those numbers are easily eclipsed by the supposed most-viewed movies on the streaming service (reported in February), like Red Notice, whose 230.9 million views would be almost four times as much as the tickets sold for Barbie.

There’s definitely some crunching to be done, but one does wonder if Ted Sarandos may have a point in there — whether you agree with it or not. Then again, there’s also the case that the concocted battle between Barbie and Oppenheimer helped it exceed its box office goals and so that couldn’t have been duplicated in one’s living room.

Do you think Ted Sarandos has a valid point in his claim about Barbie and Oppenheimer? Give us your take below.

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/ted-sarandos-barbenheimer/

author avatar
SBS editor