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Through his career, Mark Wahlberg has made a slew of earnest and sometimes serious movies that people don’t really talk about all that often. There’s Invincible, the feel-good Disney sports movie (a flop) where his character gets a second chance at football ($58 million total gross on a reported $40 million budget). You could also say the same about Three Kings or The Perfect Storm, both movies where Wahlberg starred opposite George Clooney and both which were relative box office successes, though they don’t really come up all that much anymore. Then there’s Patriots Day, the #1 most-viewed Netflix movie on July the 4th.
Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg have teamed up multiple times, most recently actually on Netflix for Spenser Confidential. However, though before that, they teamed up numerous times for the oft-discussed Lone Survivor, the well-known Deepwater Horizon and then Patriots Day, a movie that is actually about the Boston Marathon bombings.
Most people didn’t see this movie, at least in theaters. Patriots Day was made on a $40 million budget and went on to make $52 million worldwide. Given theaters and studios have to share revenue, it didn’t recoup its budget for the studio and is considered to be a box office failure. To give you context, other Berg/Wahlberg team-up Lone Survivor had a $40 million budget and made $154 million worldwide.
Yesterday, though, Patriots Day had its, err, day in the sun. It dominated Netflix on the 4th of July, though this is one of those times I wish streaming ratings existed in the same way network ratings exist. I’d be willing to bet a lot more people watched Hamilton over on Disney+ on the fourth than watched Patriots Day, though I have no real way to even compare the two. Still getting into the Top 10 when you are a three-year old, not-particularly-well-known movie is impressive.
It seems people are still feeling patriotic this weekend, as Patriots Day is still in the Netflix Top 10 at the time of this writing. It’s sort of fascinating. Patriots Day was well-reviewed when it released wide in 2017, but was basically snubbed by the Oscars and viewers who could have seen it in theaters. (We gave it four stars out of five.) It had a great cast: J.K. Simmons, Michele Monaghan, John Goodman and Kevin Bacon are also involved, along with Wahlberg. It was a timely movie and a timely director and actor team-up as well. But no one really latched onto it until this weekend.
The Fourth of July is a typically a good holiday for action movies if you aren’t spending time outside, and Mark Wahlberg has a lot of those under his belt. It’s hard to tell if Netflix was pushing the title on its service or if people were just searching for movies like Patriot Games or whatever and stumbled upon this one. Either way, Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg team-ups are notable, and I can't get enough of seeing this one gaining in popularity after all this time. It's similar to what happened a few weeks ago when Blood Father and Badland gained traction.
Particularly given Mark Wahlberg does have plans to do another Netflix movie, though so far it’s not for Spenser Confidential 2. Instead, he’s rejoining with Stephen Levinson for Our Man in New Jersey, a spy flick about a blue collar individual. So, it’s in Netflix’s best interest to be pushing Wahlberg content.
Yet, it also leads to an interesting question about mid-level releases that didn’t find an audience in theaters and whether a second life on streaming services can boost the profile of a movie considerably? Maybe down the line Patriots Day is the Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg team-up we’re all still talking about. Only time will tell.