The Gray Man, Netflix’s extremely expensive new action thriller, marked a big opening weekend on the streaming service.
The film, which cost around $200 million, is based on Mark Greaney’s book series of the same name. It follows Ryan Gosling’s CIA agent Court Gentry – aka Sierra Six, a highly skilled, agency-sanctioned agent who suddenly finds himself on the wrong side and on the run from the CIA. Gentry must try to stay one step ahead of Chris Evans’s former CIA cohort Lloyd Hansen, who hunts Sierra Six on a world adventure that is sure to test the loyalty of all involved.
Starring alongside Gosling and Evans are No Time To Die’s Ana de Armas, Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page, 12 Years a Slave’s Alfre Woodard and Matrix Resurrections’ Jessica Henwick. The Russo Brothers, the men who took charge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe mega-hits Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War, spearheaded the project.
Despite mixed reviews, the Netflix film – which we call a “appropriately fun, tension-filled spy movie that feels like a summer blockbuster of yesteryear” – was supported by a massive publicity tour. This included ‘s own chat with the Russo brothers and a massive marketing campaign, all aimed at getting as many viewers as possible on the couches for the film’s opening weekend.
Netflix publishes a weekly list (opens in new tab)detailing their most popular movies over a seven-day period since November 2021, allowing everyone to see how their favorite shows and movies are performing on the service.
Ranking titles based on weekly viewing hours – that is, the total number of hours subscribers worldwide watched each title between Monday and Sunday of the previous week – Netflix regularly shares four separate lists: two for movies ( English and non-English) and two for TV Shows (English and non-English).
The Gray Man, which debuted on the streamer on Friday, July 22, has amassed 88.55 million watch hours; a great opening weekend for any Netflix original.
Those numbers place it above the opening numbers of Adam Sandler’s Hustle, hit comedy The Man From Toronto, and erotic thriller 365 Days: This Day, which peaked at number a few days after release. It is not, however, the biggest opening weekend of any Netflix movie in 2022.
Who defeated the Gray Man?
Ryan Reynolds. Specifically, the sci-fi family adventure The Adam Project, which scored 92.43 million viewing hours in its first weekend on Netflix in March.
Notably, The Adam Project remained at the top for another three weeks, reaching over 85.6 million viewing hours in its second week on the platform. Given what they spent on The Gray Man, Netflix execs expect the action spectacle to have the same kind of staying power.
That said, Netflix must be overjoyed with The Gray Man and its creative team. Yesterday (July 26), it was announced that the film will have a sequel and a spin-off. Ryan Gosling is confirmed to return, as are the Russo brothers, but The Gray Man 2 currently doesn’t have an official title or release date. However, it is likely to follow the plot of the second novel in Mark Greaney’s thriller series called On Target.
Meanwhile, the spin-off, which will be written by Deadpool writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, is set to “explore a different element of the Gray Man universe.”
Analysis: Will Netflix be happy with these numbers?
Given that they’ve just ordered a sequel and a spin-off, we’d have to conclude that yes, they are. It is worth saying, however, that these numbers are a far cry from the kinds of numbers that Netflix tentpoles were posting in 2021.
Red Notice, with Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Gal Gadot, managed to pull in 148.7 million viewers when it premiered in November 2021, while the starring drama Don’t Look Up enjoyed a second week on the platform with more. of 152 million viewers.
These remarkable successes took place in the depths of winter – not the height of summer – Covid-19 cases were still on the rise. Expectations have changed since then, so The Gray Man’s 88 million viewers in three days is still a lot. It is unclear, however, whether it will have the staying powers that its predecessors had.