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Shaft struts to top of Netflix UK’s most-watched chart

Staff Reporter

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Shaft was the most-watched title on Netflix last week, the streaming giant’s latest figures reveal.

The film, which is the latest in the iconic franchise, is a semi-sequel, part-reboot, introducing us to a third generation of the New York detective’s legacy. That comes in the form of John Shaft Jr., who, while working for the FBI, has to enlist his estranged father to find out who killed his best friend and bring down a drug and money-laundering ring

The film was purchased by Netflix from New Line in 2017, with a deal not unlike Annihilation’s distribution agreement, which meant the streaming giant could release the move online internationally two weeks after the US cinema debut. In its first week, that investment appears to have paid off, with Shaft soaring to the top of Netflix’s weekly chart of most popular films and TV shows.

Netflix has always been famously closely guarded about its viewing figures, but has recently begun to release statistics for key new titles, mostly films, as it looks to build on Roma’s success at the Oscars and position itself as a major, established player in the feature film business. At the same time, it’s also now experimenting with releasing lists of the most popular titles on Netflix UK each week, to see if users find the regular round-up a useful indication of what’s trending – this week, as part of that test, it’s only released an overall list of 10 titles, rather than break i down into genres and types, as it has in previous weeks.

The figures, of course, should be taken with a pinch of salt: Netflix’s count for a “viewer” is anyone who completes at least 70 per cent of one episode of a TV series or 70 per cent of a film – an indication, perhaps, of how much time people typically spend watching a single title on Netflix, or of how value attention spans have become in a competitive online age. Nonetheless, they highlight how much of an impact each new release makes, as word of mouth builds among subscribers.

Indeed, Shaft is followed closely by Murder Mystery, the new Netflix film starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler (one of the VOD service’s most popular stars, it’s previously announced). When They See Us remains in the top five, below Jane the Virgin and and ahead of Black Mirror, which recently dropped a fifth season. Netflix documentary Girls Incarcerated, which recently returned for a new season, came in seventh, ahead of Jessica Jones, which recently released its final season, Good Girls, recently back for a second season, and Designated Survivor, recently returned for its third season and its first as a Netflix original.

Here’s the rundown:

1. Shaft 2. Murder Mystery 3. Jane The Virgin 4. When They See Us 5. Black Mirror 6. Despicable Me 3 7. Girls Incarcerated 8. Jessica Jones 9. Good Girls 10. Designated Survivor

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