I am no stranger to Woody Woodpecker. I loved watching old cartoons when I was growing up, and the mischievous bird with the unmistakable laugh was one of the frequent characters on my screen. Nowadays, it's not only my job but fun for me to keep track of the latest movies coming out. And yet, the Woody Woodpecker movie that has rocketed up to the No. 1 spot in the Netflix Top 10 movies in the US is a complete unknown to me.
Apparently, the movie was originally released in 2017 and stars Timothy Omundson (Galavant, This Is Us), Thalia Ayala (Zeroville, Inverno) and Graham Verchere (Stargirl, Alert: Mission Persons Unit) as a family that has plans to tear down a section of the woods and build a new house on it. However, Woody Woodpecker, voiced by Eric Bauza (Solar Opposites, Looney Tunes Cartoons), won't stand for these guys coming and wrecking his home.
Why many of us (myself included) may never have heard of this movie is because it never actually received a release in US movie theaters. Despite being originally developed by Universal Studios and its animation division Illumination, Woody Woodpecker was released primarily in Latin America markets through Universal International where it ended up earning a total of $15.3 million dollars. The only way that you could have watched it in the US prior to its arrival on Netflix was via digital on-demand (it still is available on digital on-demand platforms).
Despite that, the movie is now finding an audience on Netflix. It officially launched on the streaming service on September 1 as part of its new on Netflix lineup and began climbing the rankings in the last few days, including being the top trending movie in the US on September 11 and September 12, besting movies like the Adam Sandler Netflix original You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, the 2023 rom-com Love Again and the 2022 Florence Pugh thriller Don't Worry Darling.
How is it beating those movies out? Not to be mean, but it's probably not that viewers are finding a hidden gem. Woody Woodpecker has a "Rotten" score of 13% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and a 33% positive audience score. Now to be fair, a lot of kid-centric movies don’t score well with critics and little kids may not be voting on Rotten Tomatoes.
The best theory that I can come up with on the success of Woody Woodpecker on Netflix is perhaps adults with young children are seeing the movie on the streamer, getting fond memories of their childhood and want to introduce their kids to the character. Maybe the kids are enjoying Woody's antics enough for repeat viewings.
Netflix doesn't divulge much specific info on viewership, so we may never know what is spurring this surprising Woody Woodpecker revival. But it'll be interesting to see how long the movie hangs in at the top of the Netflix charts.
Watch the Woody Woodpecker trailer right here to get a glimpse of the movie:
Also check out our best shows to watch on Netflix feature.