“Beasts of No Nation,” a film produced for Netflix by Cary Fukanaga (who directed the first season of “True Detective”), had an innovative distribution strategy involving simultaneous release in theaters as well as on Netflix. The theater debut for the movie, which follows an African child soldier who survives a civil war and stars Idris Elba as a terrifying, charismatic commandant, was something of a dud -- but it was a huge success for Netflix, where it has already become the company’s most watched film globally, viewed by over three million people in North America alone.
Unsurprisingly, the movie was a hit on social media as well, according to figures from ListenFirst, the social media data and analytics firm which powers MediaPost’s Digital Engagement Index. In fact “Beasts of No Nation” is generating the same level of social media buzz as last year’s nominees for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
ListenFirst looked at indices including search volume, total YouTube views of both official and unofficial trailers and related content on the day of release, and the company’s own Critic Score, which measures critic reviews and ratings across multiple movie review sites on release.
On the day of its release, the movie generated 7.2 million official and unofficial YouTube views. That put it ahead of “Boyhood,” with 5.4 million views, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” with 5.3 million, and “Selma” with 1.1 million. Meanwhile “Beasts of No Nation” scored a search volume of 48,193, in the same vicinity as “Birdman,” with 65,597, and "Selma," with 41,365.
It’s worth noting that some big releases scored much higher: “American Sniper,” for example, had 24.5 million official and unofficial YouTube views and a search volume of 154,144.
“Beasts of No Nation” was also well-received by critics, scoring an 86% on ListenFirst’s Critic Score, roughly midway between “Boyhood,” at 99%, and “American Sniper,” at 71%.