The Denzel Washington Classic ‘Training Day’ is now the most-watched movie on Netflix

If you go back on Netflix

most popular movies on a given day, you will see a pattern. There are Bigfoot family and To all the boys: always and forever and I care a lot—all films produced by Netflix. And you have third-party projects like Cutthroat City, home front and The next three days—all movies released in the last few years.

But it’s a lot a lot rarer for a film like training day to come out on top. That was the case today, however, when the Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke classic peaked at No. 1 on Netflix’s Top 10.

Written by David Ayer and directed by Antoine Fuqua, this foretold crime thriller tells the story of a veteran officer who escorts a recruit on his first day with the Los Angeles Police Department’s grueling narcotics unit. Washington and Hawke received acclaim for their performances in the film, as they both received Oscar nominations – and Washington won.

training day has been on Netflix since March 1 when the streaming service introduced dozens of new movies and shows to its database. But it wasn’t until today, March 9, that the Washington/Hawke thriller shot to No. 1 in the Top 10. Before today, training day had captured one day in ninth place, three days in fourth place and one day (yesterday) in second place. So today, training day took first place in action movie Sentinel.

It’s rare for a movie made before 2010 that wasn’t produced by Netflix to land the top spot on the Top 10 charts. In fact, it’s only the third time a film meets these two criteria and still achieves first place. All about the Benjamins (a 2002 action comedy) achieved the feat on February 4, 2021, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey’s 2000 holiday classic) did the same at the height of the Christmas season late last year. But all of the other early films in Top 10 history were made after 2010, and nearly 400 different films have made Top 10 appearances.

These daily rankings have become a great way to keep up with the movies that control the movie zeitgeist. As COVID-19 has crippled movie theaters, streaming has become our go-to outlet for entertainment. And with Netflix being the most popular streaming entity in the world, it’s safe to say that any movie that tops the top 10 list is also the most popular movie in the country at that time.

So, once again: it’s a bit crazy that training day– a film that was made nearly 20 years ago and hasn’t received much hype lately – is suddenly the most-watched movie among Netflix’s 75 million US subscribers. It’s a testament to the film’s legacy and its ability to continue to captivate moviegoers.

It makes you wonder if Netflix’s lineup went a little awry in early March. Each day, the platform either had one of its own films captured in first place (the last five films to finish in first place were Sentinel, Moxie, Bigfoot Family, I care a lot and To all the boys: always and forever) or ranked at the top of the recent releases list (e.g., War Dogs, Cut Throat City, The Next Three Days, and home front). So if a movie like training day is able to eclipse every major new release, does that mean Netflix’s viewership is a bit saturated right now?

On the other hand, this saturation might not be a terrible thing. Netflix has several other huge releases planned for the near future, such as yes day (the premiere of which will take place on March 12), The woman at the window (May 14) and army of the dead (May 21). So, between those major releases, the ability to capture viewers with older films (which likely cost less money to distribute digitally) could prove quite an asset.

No matter how you shake it: it’s rare for a movie like training day to come out on top. Everyone’s guessing how long the movie’s reign will last (there aren’t any major new releases on Netflix until yes day debuts on Friday). But for now, it’s a delightful surprise to see Washington’s Oscar-winning performance receiving so much attention.

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