This Box Office Bomb is Now Charting on Netflix

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Feb 11, 2024

“The Postcard Killings,” initially a box office bomb with a mere $181,415 in earnings, has surprisingly charted on Netflix’s Top 10 in the U.S. This thriller, featuring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Famke Janssen, demonstrates the power of streaming services to resurrect overlooked films.

Despite its theatrical shortcomings, the film’s intriguing plot and strong performances have found an appreciative audience on Netflix, showcasing the evolving dynamics of movie success in the digital age.

Star Power Redefined

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Famke Janssen, known for their roles in “The Walking Dead” and “X-Men” series respectively, bring undeniable star power to “The Postcard Killings.”

effrey Dean Morgan speaking at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con International

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Their performances have captivated Netflix audiences, proving that an actor’s appeal can transcend initial box office results.

Behind the Scenes

Directed by Danis Tanović, “The Postcard Killings” faced critical challenges and a disappointing box office performance upon its release. However, its adaptation from a novel by James Patterson and Liza Marklund has garnered a new, engaged audience on Netflix.

Viviane Reding presented the European Union's MEDIA Prize in Cannes to Danis Tanović

Source: European Commission/Wikimedia Comons

Tanović, known for his acclaimed Bosnian films, ventured into American cinema with this thriller, highlighting the unpredictable journey from critical acclaim to audience acceptance in the streaming era.

Netflix's Crime Obsession

Netflix has cultivated a rich niche for crime dramas and thrillers, with “The Postcard Killings” seamlessly fitting into this genre. The platform’s audience has shown a voracious appetite for crime stories, propelling the film into the U.S. Top 10.

A man in handcuffs with his arms extended.

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This trend reflects Netflix’s role in popularizing genres that may not always find their footing in the traditional box office but thrive in the streaming environment.

Box Office vs. Streaming Success

“The Postcard Killings” challenges the traditional metric of box office success as the sole indicator of a film’s value. The streaming era, exemplified by Netflix, has introduced new criteria for measuring success, focusing on viewer engagement and popularity over ticket sales.

People at Theater with a spotlight on the red curtains

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This shift underscores the significance of accessibility and the broad reach of streaming platforms, offering a redemption arc for films that did not perform well theatrically but have found their audience online.

Other Box Office Bombs That Made It Big on Netflix

Several films have followed a similar trajectory to “The Postcard Killings,” including “Stillwater” and “Underwater,” which found remarkable success on Netflix despite underwhelming box office performances.

Netflix logo on TV

Source: Vantage_DS

This pattern highlights the platform’s ability to uncover and rejuvenate films that may have been initially overlooked.


The Global vs. U.S. Popularity Puzzle

While “The Postcard Killings” enjoyed success on the U.S. Top 10 list on Netflix, it did not achieve the same level of popularity globally.

Boxes filled with popcorn at a movie theater.

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This discrepancy may reflect regional differences in viewer preferences and cultural tastes. Analyzing the factors that contribute to such disparities can provide insights into the global streaming market, offering a nuanced understanding of how content sits differently across diverse audiences.


Could There Be a Sequel?

Given its newfound popularity, speculation about a potential sequel to “The Postcard Killings” is rising. Without spoiling anything, the original film’s conclusion does leave room for continuation, and its success on Netflix could justify further exploration of its story universe.

A film production team pictured as they work through a scene

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However, the feasibility of a sequel would depend on various factors, including the availability of its leading stars and the creative direction a sequel might take.


The Role of Critics in the Streaming Age

The streaming success of “The Postcard Killings,” despite its poor critical reception, highlights the diminishing influence of critics in the age of streaming platforms.

Man sitting on the couch watching TV from a streaming site

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Viewer preferences and streaming algorithms are becoming more pivotal in determining a film’s success, suggesting a shift from traditional review-driven popularity. This change reflects a broader trend where audiences are exploring and appreciating content beyond the confines of critical consensus.


Streaming Platforms: The New Box Office

Streaming services like Netflix are emerging as the new barometers of a film’s success, offering a platform for movies that may not have found their audience through traditional theatrical releases.

Man holding remote control while woman eats popcorn


This evolution suggests a significant shift in how success is measured, valuing viewer engagement and popularity over box office revenue.


The Power of Adaptation

Adapting a novel to the screen is a challenging endeavor, as seen with “The Postcard Killings.”

Black Camera Recorder shows playback of a film session

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The film’s journey from a literary work by James Patterson to a cinematic piece and its subsequent revival on Netflix highlights the risks and opportunities when it comes to a film adaptation.


What's Next for Streaming Giants and Box Office Flops?

As streaming platforms continue to redefine the success metrics for films, the future looks promising for movies like “The Postcard Killings.” Netflix and other streaming services are positioned to discover and promote hidden gems, challenging the traditional film distribution and success model.

A person holding a remote control aimed towards a television screen displaying the Netflix logo

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This shift signifies a growing trend where the value of content is increasingly determined by its ability to engage and captivate the streaming audience, continuing to pave the way for a diverse range of stories to find their spotlight in the digital age.