What makes a Netflix flick or TV show a hit? The secretive streamer just revealed one way to measure popularity: by the number of hours people watched a program in its first 28 days. (They used to announce how many people watched the first two minutes of each show, which was nuts.) AARP applied some of this new information to figure out which stars loom largest on Netflix, and guess what? Grownups rule! By combining Netflix’s recent revelations with our own insights, AARP presents our first list of the top grownup stars ruling Netflix.
No. 1: Sandra Bullock, 57
We always suspected it was Sandra Bullock — and now there’s hard evidence. The star boasts two films on Netflix’s top 10 English-language movies list: the 2018 sci-fi thriller Bird Box (number 2) and 2021’s punishment-and-crime drama The Unforgivable (number 7). In the latter, Bullock looks aptly grim as Ruth Slater, a parolee returning to the outside, where she’s been consigned to a special hell on earth as she struggles to overcome her past.
No. 2: Meryl Streep, 72
Streep is part of Adam McKay’s all-star cast in Don’t Look Up (2021). The ensemble resembles the disaster-flick casts of yore, but with even more gold statuettes on their shelves. A-listers in this climate crisis satire include Streep as a venal prez, Cate Blanchett (52) as a ratings-hungry news program host and Mark Rylance (62) as a big-tech demigod. The movie cost a pretty penny and holds the streamer’s number 3 spot.
Watch it: Don't Look Up
No. 3: Robert De Niro, 78
Martin Scorsese’s first and greatest muse flexes his muscle as the titular hitman in 2019’s The Irishman, about the rise and “disappearance” of Teamsters Union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino, 81). Of the many award-season prestige movies Netflix has greenlit in recent years, this one — and Don't Look Up — has a foothold in the top 10 list. One could argue that at 3 hours, 29 minutes, the movie had an easier shot at racking up streaming hours, but we’d be fools to deny mobster Frank Sheeran and this stellar performer his due.
Watch it: The Irishman
No. 4: Regina King, 51
It’s good to be King. In her 2020 directorial debut, One Night in Miami, she aimed the camera at four historical figures and was duly lauded. As Trudy Smith, she aims six-shooters in writer-director-composer Jeymes Samuel’s slick shoot-’em-up Western, The Harder They Fall (2021), which is still getting love on the site after being on the weekly top 10 for three weeks.
Don’t Miss This: 11 Black Filmmakers You Should Know