Believe it or not, the Western was once the most popular genre in all of cinema, but these days, the most high profile dusters only tend to gain a wide audience if they come attached with some serious star power.
The highest-grossing Western of all-time is Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which hailed from one of the world’s most recognizable filmmakers and boasted an A-list ensemble. Second is Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves, which was released over 30 years ago, and third place goes to The Lone Ranger, which flopped spectacularly and lives on in infamy as one of the biggest box office bombs in history.
The point is, the genre has hardly been renowned for drawing in big numbers throughout the modern era, which makes it all the more impressive that News of the World has been dominating the Netflix Top 10 most-watched list for weeks now, thanks to a combination of solid reviews, a lack of high profile feature length competition and the always reliable presence of Tom Hanks in the lead role.
As one of the most universally beloved actors on the planet, Hanks is capable of convincing even the most skeptical of viewers to check out his latest efforts based entirely on his involvement alone, and those on the fence about News of the World will have found themselves treated to a very good movie, with Bourne director Paul Greengrass holding back from utilizing his typical bag of stylistic tricks in favor of something a lot more classical and old fashioned.
The film may have died out pretty quickly at the box office after releasing domestically on Christmas Day, but it’s been a massive success on Netflix and could end up as one of the platform’s most-watched semi-original releases ever.