No one has escaped the trailers, promotional images, and memes of Bird Box. This thriller movie is Netflix’s most successful release until now. The plot is set in a post-apocalyptic world haunted by a once-seen mysterious presence. It forces and drives all the people in society to commit suicide. Marjorie (Sandra Bullock) is a compassionate mother, intent on saving her children. She blindfolds herself and her kids. She sets out in search of safety on what happens to be a perilous journey. It garnered almost 45 million viewers in the first week itself. Even then, it had mixed reviews from the critics.
Yakov Bart puzzled over the movie’s success, even with it being a critical bust. He is an associate professor of marketing at Northeastern University. He found that the answer to this success was simple – memes. “This movie was rife with moments that were easy to make into memes,” Bart mused. Social media, nowadays, has nothing but memes. It is widely shared pictorial information, for humorous purpose. Stills from the movie transformed into memes and circulated on all the platforms. It was interesting for people, making them watch the movie.
“People ended up watching the movie not because they had an interest, but because they wanted to be part of the conversation,” he theorised.
But that’s not all. Along with memes, the release date helped too. The date was Dec 21, and it was the winter holidays. People had free time in their hands. It didn’t matter if the movie was good or bad. Due to the easy availability, people crowded online to see it. New filmmaking techniques and the inclusion of big-name celebrities was beneficial. It was sure to reach such a new level of success.
“Writers, cinematographers, everyone prefers Netflix over other media-services,” Tim Ouillette said. “This idea that Netflix is just an indie company is no longer true.” He teaches film students at the University. Ouillette believes that Netflix will soon be announcing a sequel to Bird Box.