‘Don’t Look Up’ Officially Crowned Netflix’s Second Most Watched Film Ever

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Global streaming giant Netflix has announced that Don’t Look Up has climbed to second position on its most successful releases list. The title debuted on the site on December 24 2021. It has since racked up over 322,000,000 viewing hours. 

Between January 2-9 2022, Netflix tracked more than 58 million viewing hours for the film. This helped director Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up to overtake Bird Box and swoop into second place. Red Notice has retained its title as the most successful Netflix film ever.

Don't Look Up

Calculating a sensation

Viewing metrics are calculated according to the total number of hours watched in the first 28 days on the Netflix platform. This is when the majority of viewings will take place, due to the novelty factor and promotional tours by films’ cast members. 

Red Notice was a 2021 release starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot. Netflix took distribution rights from Universal Pictures and the spy film has a recorded 364,020,000 viewing hours in its first 28 days. Until Don’t Look Up was released, 2018 Sandra Bullock horror Thriller Bird Box sat comfortably in second place on the list of the most successful films. It registered 282,020,000 hours.

28 days are not yet up for apocalyptic satire Don’t Look Up, meaning that it still has the potential to take the top spot.

Mixed reviews and different theories

McKay’s depiction of climate denial, political grandstanding, and scientific ignorance has been simultaneously heralded and panned by critics. Some feel that he has managed to hold up a mirror up to what is happening now, while others commented that now is not a time for satire. The climate crisis is already hard to get to grips with and turning it into a cultural phenomenon is no guarantee of the messages within being translated.

The film’s popularity with the public has been attributed to a number of potential explanations. First, the impressive cast is sure to have intrigued a few viewers. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence are both strong leads. The timely release was also, no doubt, accountable for some interest.

Following what has been globally hailed as a disappointing COP26, McKay’s allegory for climate change could have felt like vindication for many. Those hoping for more definitive action plans and country-specific commitments may have turned to Netflix’s release for comfort or inspiration. No spoilers, but neither were forthcoming. 

Don't Look Up

Delivering messages

Last year, Seaspiracy was released to international acclaim and shock. The Netflix documentary looked at the devastating effects of the commercial fishing sector, while relaying that time is running out to backpedal. The film made a lasting impression on many. It is unlikely that any viewers found a chance to have a wry giggle. By the end of last March, it had climbed into the ten most-watched titles on Netflix for more than 30 countries.

Voice Of The Glaciers was also released in 2021. The independent documentary looked at glacial erosion as a major consequence of climate change. Opening with a haunting monologue, the film laid bare what is happening to the glaciers in Svalbard and what we have to do to prevent it from continuing. “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change and we are the last generation that can do something about it,” filmmaker Sindre Kolbjørnsgard said.

All images courtesy of Netflix.


  • Amy Buxton

    A long-term committed ethical vegan and formerly Green Queen's resident plant-based reporter, Amy juggles raising a family and maintaining her editorial career, while also campaigning for increased mental health awareness in the professional world. Known for her love of searing honesty, in addition to recipe developing, animal welfare and (often lacklustre) attempts at handicrafts, she’s hands-on and guided by her veganism in all aspects of life. She’s also extremely proud to be raising a next-generation vegan baby.

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