American Murder: The Family Next Door has officially been crowned Netflix's most-watched documentary. The true-crime film, which traces the case of the 2018 Watts family murders, is currently on track to be watched by 52 million subscribers in its first 28 days, the streamer revealed in its third quarter financials report, according to Deadline, making it Netflix's best-performing feature doc since it made a move into the genre.
Directed by Jenny Popplewell, the documentary debuted on the streaming giant on Sept. 30 and immediately caught the attention of Netflix subscribers, many of whom were left speechless by the crime. Using archival footage, social media posts, law enforcement footage, and text messages, the 82-minute film attempts to "give a voice to the victims" – 34-year-old Shanann Watts and her two young daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, who were murdered by their husband and father, Chris Watts – as Popplewell pieces together an immersive and truthful examination of a police investigation and a disintegrating marriage. Since its debut, American Murder has frequented Netflix's "Top 10 Movies in the U.S." list.
But American Murder was not the only major success the streamer had in its third quarter, as The Social Dilemma became Netflix's second best-performing feature doc. Premiering on Sept. 9, the Jeff Orlowski-directed series was watched by 38 million households in its first 28 days. The doc explores the consequences of our growing dependence on social media.
After exclusively streaming on YouTube for its first two season, Cobra Kai, meanwhile, saw its first season watched by 50M households in its first four weeks following its move to Netflix. The data firm Nielsen previously revealed that audiences of the The Karate Kid spinoff had watched 2.17 billion minutes of the series during the week of Aug. 31 to Aug. 6.
For films, the Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill-starring film Enola Holmes, which launched on Sept. 23, is estimated to be watched by 76M households during the first 28 days. Initially projected to reach 72M viewers, Charlize Theron's The Old Guard was viewed by 78M viewers, with Jamie Foxx's Project Power being watched by 75M households and The Kissing Booth 2 being watched by 66M households.
Netflix's decision to release viewership data is a rare one, as the streamer typically remains secretive regarding its data, though on rare occasions it does release select information. Back in 2019, the streamer even revealed that a view only counts once an account has watched at least 70% of the episode or film's runtime, including the credits and that any subsequent views of the film from the same account do not count. However, Netflix also noted that the information “should not be taken as a metric for all Netflix content.”