2 minutes watched now counts you as a “viewer” in Netflix’s stats

Only 2 minutes means you are a “viewer” in Netflix’s stats? O … K.

83 million “watched” 6 Underground, says Netflix. That’s impressive if only they weren’t now counting subscribers who only watch a couple minutes and bailed.

The company switched to a new viewership metric that essentially inflates its numbers by more than a third compared with its previous standard. Netflix said it will now count a title as “watched” if you choose to watch it and let it play for two minutes. That’s it. In the past, Netflix wouldn’t start counting something as “watched” until you got through 70% of the first episode of a series or of a film’s total runtime.

Netflix viewership stats just got more meaningless

Didn’t track exactly how long I tried to watch 6 Underground, but it was more than two minutes every time.

There old metric of at least 70% was a far better metric. I suppose internally they can track both. A statistic for reporting publicly and an internal-only metric which counts the old way. My money is they have internal statistics that go far, far deeper than they’ll ever strategically share with anybody outside the company.

This makes me think about that abysmal auto-play function — that cannot be disabled — whenever you hover over something in Netflix. Is this making me a viewer of everything I pause to do something else and leave on this screen for at least two minutes?

We already knew the viewing stats at Netflix were suspect, just read: The Irishman had 26,404,081 views in the first week, says Netflix – cough, wink, cough.

This just adds another exclamation mark.

2020 New Year Resolutions and Goals

How does this look the day after?

Ah yes, another year is upon us. Looking forward and back. Hopefully, if you went out last night you didn’t party too hard. Will try not to burn too many neurons with this post.

While most movie review blogs are posting their best/worst of movie lists for the year and, some, posting best of the decade lists, this year we can’t really do that here because I only started reviewing movies in August 2019 and this site started in September. Yeah, we’ve got that new car smell still.

We all start somewhere.

Baby Yoda started somewhere … too … just don’t poke his eye!

Doesn’t seem fair to me to post best/worst of lists where only 4-5 months of 12 were analyzed and reviewed in detail, so need to wait until next year to share those lists. Still, I may link, comment and discuss lists others are making. Came across a few good posts in my reader from others already today.

Full disclaimer: I made one best new movies in theaters of 2019 list (since August 12, 2019) on Letterboxd, but, again, it’s incomplete, so don’t feel it’s worth talking much about here, much less linking.

For those curious, my favorite new movie watched — of the 68 seen in theaters — since August 12, 2019 — was Doctor Sleep ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I watched several other new movies in 2019, but since those weren’t reviewed and rated, they aren’t included in that list. See, it’s messy, hence, the reason I’m not bothering with posting any lists or trying to rationalize why something was my favorite for the year when not even the whole year is included. Next year.

I can, however, discuss what was watched, rated and reviewed in 2019. For the statistics-friendly readers, let’s look at star rating distribution.

Star Rating Distribution

Since August 2019, a total of 385 movies were watched, rated and reviewed either via streaming (Amazon [176], Netflix [35], Hulu [16], Disney+[14], etc) or seen at the theater [69 – 68 at Regal, 1 at independent]. The picture below shows how it looks like climbing up a mountain and then down. Here is the actual breakdown of the star ratings:

Movies watched, rated and reviews in 2019 (actual count is 385) ratings distribution

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Love it, Must See (16 movies – 4%)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Amazing (18 movies – 5%)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Great (62 movies – 16%)
⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Good (72 movies – 19%)
⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Entertaining (77 movies – 20%)

A total of 245 of 385 (63.6%) above are recommended. Below movies watched are not recommended:

⭐️⭐️½ – OK (55 movies – 14%)
⭐️⭐️ – Mediocre (39 movies – 10%)
⭐️½ – Bad (27 movies – 7%)
⭐️ – Terrible (11 movies – 3%)
½ – Unwatchable (8 movies – 2%)

The remaining 36.7% movies. Curiously, I see some Letterboxd users having almost no reviews beneath three stars. These users must have chosen not to post any ratings of movies they didn’t like.

I can see some logic in being an upbeat, mostly positive movie reviewer, but others reading and trying to establish a reviewer’s taste need to see both the good and the bad, not just one or the other. Also, it’s impossible that every movie you ever watch is liked. I mean, you’ve never seen any movie you disliked? Ever?

I don’t know if my rating distribution is indicative of what it should look like, but the law of averages suggest that regardless of taste, if you watch a lot of movies, over time a five star rating curve should favor the middle with rarities at either spectrum. From a purely mathematical standpoint, the curve appears accurate.

No 4.5 or 5 star ratings were given to new movies in 2019

Just didn’t think any 2019 released movies I watched were worthy of that high rating. Realize that might be controversial for some, but that’s my opinion. If you had 4.5 and 5 star ratings on movies I rated lower, that’s awesome, I’m glad you enjoyed them. I’m a strong proponent of defending individual taste. Yours will undoubtedly differ on some, perhaps many, titles. I think the larger the group of people, however, the best movies will have higher overall ratings.

My #1 movie seen in theaters since 8/12/19

An example of a 2019 movie that I didn’t think was amazing like many other moviegoers is Parasite. It’s an entertaining, creative movie, yes, but didn’t think it was The Shining ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Toy Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ or the James Bond masterpiece Goldfinger ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I wish every movie I saw was 4.5+ rated, really I do. But I’ve seen way too many movies to compare against and as time soldiers on, I’m getting more picky about which movies meet that threshold.

A few 2019 movies were close to 4.5, but that’s all I can say. Again, keep in mind this is only movies that came out in 2019 on/after August 12, 2019. My sense is that I probably would have given some 4.5 or higher ratings to movies watched earlier in 2019. As time goes by and I catch up reviewing these other 2019 movies, we’ll both find out.

(Avengers: Endgame fans: I still haven’t seen that movie yet)

Clearly, I’m stingy with 4.5+ ratings. Those are reserved for the most amazing movies I’ve ever seen. When you talk about 40+ years of watching movies, that list is proportionally smaller.

One movie reviewer I read indicate that he never gives five star ratings on the first watch to any movie. I like that policy, although probably won’t adopt it. He said he liked to watch at least two times before deciding a movie was “perfect.”

Can you tell a movie that is perfect the first time you watch it?

2020 MovieReviewsByUs.com New Year’s Resolutions and Goals

Something else bloggers everywhere are doing is posting New Year’s Resolutions for 2020. On this very topic, I shot an 11+ minute or so video on Christmas day outside the movie theater about to enter and watch Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

2020 New Year’s Resolutions and Goals for MovieReviewsByUs.com

Let’s break down the goals for this website in 2020 in order presented in the video above (not by priority):

  1. More Themed Movie Viewing Challenges: the January 2020 viewing challenge will focus on new movies, February will be rom-coms (Valentine’s Day!).
  2. Ad-free! No third party paid advertisements: no popups, banner, text, rollovers, affiliate links, etc on the site in 2020
  3. Expand and share more movie-related opinion posts
  4. Start an ongoing review process for the 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone TV series (my favorite TV series of all time), detailed episode by episode reviews, that spans 20+ years. A new episode review every other month or so (would take 26+ years).
  5. Always have a current, active TV Series episode by episode being reviewed. Just finished the first season of The Mandalorian (Disney+) and currently reviewing new episodes every Friday of Harley Quinn (DC Universe).
  6. Continue the Wednesday OPENING wide movie reviews and NOW PLAYING REVIEWS after watching the wide theater reviews
  7. Continue the collected reviews the “US” part of the domain name (moviereviewsbyUS.com) and including with critique, perhaps with a focus on a preferred list of other movie review sites to highlight and share

What do you think of these site goals and/or for those reading who have their own websites, what are your site goals? Any feedback, insight, criticism, commentary is welcome as long as it isn’t completely troll-hostile. I’ve got fairly thick skin having been active on the web for 20+ years (yes, I was there in the pre-AOL dial-up days), but I also don’t tolerate much BS.

The last blog I ran had a very active commenting section, although it took awhile to build, so I do welcome and encourage interactive comments and discussion for those who feel obliged, just please keep it civil between each other (comments are moderated). If you leave comments here, the likelihood of me at your site leaving comments, likes, shares, links, etc increases. Quid pro quo.

The Irishman had 26,404,081 views in the first week, says Netflix – cough, wink, cough

Netflix says The Irishman had over 26 million views — but what does that mean?

Netflix is notoriously mum on viewing stats.

We just don’t know.

Well, er, a lot of the time, we don’t, unless we’re told by Netflix.

But we now have the numbersfrom their official twitter account tweet, not a third party auditing service — that The Irishman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ had over 26 million views in the the first 7 days. Further down in a tweet response they define a “view” as at least 70% of the film watched.

That number is of course open to wide interpretation since we don’t know how many people were watching said stream at the same time. We also don’t know how many are rewatches vs. first time views. But a view is a view is a view, right?

All things considered, 26 million is a lot of eyeballs. The film deserves them.

At a budget of $159 million that breaks down to, using simple math, a whopping $6.02 per subscriber.

So far that is what Netflix needs PER subscriber in subscription fees to pay for the break even budget for just this one movie. They have dozens of new shows in December 2019 alone.

Safe to say Netflix is deep in the red on this investment. That’s no secret. It’s well publicized that they are betting it all on original content. Go original or go broke … or maybe a little of both in the end.

Of course The Irishman will continue to have views long after the first 7 days. They won’t continue at the pace of the first seven days most likely, but it’s reasonable to hypothetically assume a 40% drop off week 2, 3, and then 20% to 10%. Here’s how that would look:

  1. 26,000,000 – first 7 days
  2. 15,600,000 – 14 days
  3. 6,240,000 – 21 days
  4. 1,248,000 – 28 days


Don’t like my numbers? Hey, just create your own. I promise you can’t possibly be wrong in the world of tweet it and it’s believable.

Purely hypothetical, and probably more views after 28 days than this, but who knows what the real numbers will be. Netflix can claim any number they want and, guess what, we don’t know.

These streaming channels need third party independent auditing of statistics to actually mean more than just what somebody puts on their official Twitter feed. I’m not saying it’s BS — and this post is intentionally loaded with snark — but also not saying I believe it. Only one thing about this news is certain:

We don’t know what this means.

100 Movie Blog Posts Milestone – Meta – 10/28/2019

Reached 100 post milestone 10/28/2019

Will keep meta posts like this one to a bare minimum, it is here for historical reference, so feel free to pass it by and read something else.

There are at least 100 blogs posts about movies to read here, including our first 10 day countdown to Terminator: Dark Fate (only 3 days left as of this writing).

But for those interested …

Blog Statistics

This blog was created on September 8, 2019. Started logging reviews on August 12, 2019. Just passed the 100 blog post milestone on 10/28/2019 and has 59 followers (thank you!). Reached 100 reviews logged back on September 28, 2019. As of this writing, have now rated and reviewed 207 movies, including 38 new movies seen in the movie theater, perhaps the most amount of movies I’ve ever seen in the movie theater in a year.

5 Most Popular Blog Posts (most views)

For other bloggers who are curious, you might note from the screenshot that there are 20 posts currently sitting in draft mode. All of those will make their way to published posts in the coming days, weeks and months, perhaps combined in some cases. I use the WordPress “Press This” plugin as I’m out reading to save content of interest for possible future sharing. Having draft helps for those writer’s block moments

Thank you for reading and if you like what’s going on here, please share with a friend or three, and feel free to leave any comments, suggestions or recommendations.. Have a great day!

788% Profit on Movie Theater Popcorn

$15.51 for large popcorn and large soda after 10% discount on 9/8/2019

Only 1 of the 12 movies I attended at the theater in August 2019 did I not buy popcorn and soda. I just love eating that crunchy, buttery goodness and enjoy the soda to wash it down. My wife and I prefer to get two straws and share a large Sprite when we attend together, but I will alternate between Coca Cola and Sprite. Sometimes I’ll spring for Cherry Coca Cola. It really isn’t an option for us not buying it, even if it cost more.

Most everybody realizes that concessions are the business model that keep the theaters operating. This excellent article: Why Is Movie Theater Popcorn So Outrageously Expensive? delves far deeper into the analytics of concession stand pricing and profitability. That article is also the source of the headline of this post.

Most of the movies we saw last month were in mostly empty theaters. IT: Chapter Two, seen on a Friday night — one of the busiest times — was about 75% full. Yesterday, I went and saw The Art of Racing In the Rain at the opening 11 am showing. There were two other people in the theater besides me. Yes, they also bought popcorn and soda.

It isn’t the concessions pricing that have kept me away from watching more movies at the theater, it is the price of the movies. Last year, paying full movie pricing, I still watched over 30 movies for the year. That is way more than the average movie theater attendee, per the article:

“Less than 10% of the US population goes to the movies, compared to 65% in 1930. And those who do go are attending less. In 2018, the average moviegoer paid for only 3.5 tickets, down from 4.9 tickets in 2002.”

Thank goodness for unlimited movie programs like the Regal Unlimited, because this, depending on my other life schedule, will enable me to see just about everything new that comes out every month. I would only have seen 3 or 4 of the 12 movies I saw last month if I didn’t have the Regal Unlimited movie plan.

If I have to pay full price, I will only go and see the movies that I’m looking forward to seeing (like Terminator: Dark Fate). I pay much more attention to the movie info, trailers and reviews from others before reaching for my debit card. This means I would be less likely to take a chance on outstanding movies like The Peanut Butter Falcon, our favorite movie last month and yesterday’s movie, The Art of Racing In The Rain which so far is my favorite movie I’ve seen this month (yes, it’s way early still). I’m looking forward to seeing several more movies this month, including Rambo: Last Blood, the Judy Garland biopic Judy staring Renee Zellweger and several more.

Bottom line: I am OK with the expensive concession prices. Yes, there is likely a pricing limit of which would discourage me from buying concessions at the movies. It’s not much more than what is currently being charged, but feel like with the unlimited movie plan, I’m able to spend on more concessions. From the picture above, the only money I spent yesterday at the theater was on the concessions (technically, I did pay something for the ticket price, as it was a fraction of the $22/month for the Regal Unlimited Plan).

Later this month, we’re going to be in Las Vegas staying at a hotel casino with a Regal theater on site. I think they have the dinner concession option. We’ll likely partake in that. I’m certain the prices will be more than eating at the midnight buffet. We’re OK with that.