Why Hollywood Should Leverage Netflix Ahead of Theatrical Releases

Was Top Gun: Maverick Helped at the Box Office by Netflix?

Kasey Moore What's on Netflix Avatar

top gun maverick helped by netflix

Top Gun: Maverick – Picture: Paramount

Top Gun: Maverick has lit the box office up outperforming all expectations. There are a ton of reasons why the movie has been successful but could one of the smaller reasons be down to the fact the original streamed on Netflix in the US over the past few months? Here’s why we think it did and why more Hollywood studios should leverage Netflix ahead of theatrical releases.

36 years have passed since the original Top Gun hit cinemas and the love for the franchise didn’t go anywhere if you look at the movies incredible gross at the Box Office. Not only that reviews are superb.

You’ll see plenty of discourse about why Top Gun: Maverick is doing well. The Guardian argues that it’s down to a Hollywood trend it dubs the “legacy sequel”. Many just think it’s a damn good film (myself included) and are recommending everyone to go and see it.

We think Netflix, at least in a small role, helped the movie do well in the United States.

Top Gun was licensed to Netflix in the United States (and numerous other regions in 2022) back on March 1st, 2022 and was licensed for three months (it departed on June 1st). This three-month window led up to its theatrical release on May 27th, 2022.

Netflix’s Top 10s saw the movie spike in popularity specifically in the week leading up to the release of the movie in theaters. It featured in Netflix US’s top 10s for 8 days between May 24th and May 31st before being removed as we outlined above. For the most part, it was at the number 1 position.

top gun flixpatrol data

FlixPatrol data for Top Gun

Even only being available in a few select regions, the movie went on to feature in Netflix’s global top 10 ranking between May 23rd and May 29th registering 6,440,000 hours viewed on the platform putting it at number 6 that week.

Following the movie’s removal from Netflix, it went to Amazon Prime Video on June 1st and instantly shot up to number 1 in the charts where it continues to be 6 days later.

Whether it was intentional or just luck that Top Gun landed on Netflix in this fashion is unclear. As you may know, movies regularly cycle around to different streamers based on windowing.

ViacomCBS has been good at applying this technique to some of their series, however so it’s not out of the realm to suggest it was planned. They licensed iCarly to Netflix ahead of its reboot on Paramount+ and recently did the same with Fairly Odd Parents! too.

icarly coming to netflix in february 2021

iCarly was licensed to Netflix ahead of its reboot – Picture: Nickelodeon

Sadly, there’s no direct link between people viewing the first movie on Netflix and then going out the cinema but it can certainly only help.

If you’ve not seen the original movie in a while and boot up Netflix, you may be compelled to give it a watch and that keeps the movie fresh when then exposed to marketing to the second movie.

Despite intense competition, Netflix is still a dominant force in the US with the streaming service dominating Nielsen’s top 10 rankings every week.

Licensing Top Gun (if it was intentional) was a win-win for Paramount. It exposes the movie to 70 million-plus Netflix subscribers, gets people talking about your movie, and nets you lucrative licensing cash. For Netflix’s benefit, it gets increased engagement on its platform and content that’s relevant to the current zeitgeist.

What franchise could leverage Netflix next?

This only really works with franchises, of course. A good upcoming opportunity would be Jurassic World: Dominion, the final entry in the Jurassic World trilogy that hits theaters this summer.

If Netflix was to stream the first two movies (or the entire collection of Jurassic Park movies too) they would no doubt head to the top of the Netflix streaming charts and get the movies refreshed in everyone’s mind ahead of its big theatrical debut.

What do you think? Should more Hollywood studios leverage Netflix ahead of big theatrical releases for sequels, prequels or spin-offs? Let us know in the comments.

Written by

Founder of What's on Netflix, Kasey has been tracking the comings and goings of the Netflix library for over a decade. Covering everything from new movies, series and games from around the world, Kasey is in charge of covering breaking news, covering all the new additions now available on Netflix and what's coming next.