This Movie Is Blowing Up on Netflix, But It's Not From Any of the Usual Countries

  • Honeymoonish is the first Netflix original movie from Kuwait.

  • Reaching the top of the streaming platform isn’t an accidental success. It's a clear trend.

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The undisputed success of Honeymoonish, a Kuwaiti romantic comedy, has placed a new movie from outside the U.S. and Europe at the top echelon of the streaming platform. Honeymoonish's success demonstrates that Netflix is increasingly nurturing its catalog with content from countries that, not so long ago, were considered to be simple exotic curiosities. Now, productions from India, Indonesia, and, of course, China and Korea are filling up the platform—and they already have many hits to their names.

The success of Honeymoonish. In its first week, the movie went straight to the #1 position for non-English films, with 14,000,000 views, twice as many as City Hunter, which took second place. But not only that: It also doubled the views received by Unfrosted, the #1 most viewed movie in English.

Other Kuwaiti Productions. Honeymoonish isn’t the first production from Kuwait on Netflix. Stock Market, for example, was a series whose success has guaranteed it a second season. The story takes place in the business world of the 1980s, providing a priceless visual record of the fashion and business ethics of that time. Other productions were more conventional, such as I Have a Script, The Cage, or What If, some of which ran for thirty episodes.

The origin of success: Squid Game. In 2021, Netflix was taken aback when the Korean series Squid Game shot to the top of its charts. At that time, the streaming platform was just beginning the international expansion of its catalog. Squid Game brought Netflix considerable profits, transforming a show with a $21.4 million budget into a $900 million phenomenon. The Korean series also brought the streaming platform prestige, with 14 Emmy nominations and 6 wins. According to TIME, 60% of Netflix’s international audience watches Korean content. Notably, 70% of its viewers live outside the United States.

Foreign content rules the platform. The signs are clear: In the past, streaming executives believed that the representation of cultures that were different from the ubiquitous Anglo-Saxon norm generated curiosity and interest among its usual audience. Today, we know that people from countries outside North America and Europe want different content from what we've been consuming over the years.

The boom of Hindi films. The devotion to films in Telugu—one of India’s twenty-two languages that is spoken by almost 100 million people and associated with more successful cinema than the better-known Bollywood genre—can also be traced to the success of a specific show: RRR. Its Oscar award and stratospheric audience generated an unprecedented interest in Telugu cinema. As a result of this success, Netflix has tripled its content in that language since 2022.

All for the money. Telugu cinema is a recent example of how the content people watch is becoming decentralized. This trend is not due to conspiracies but to the old, immortal practice of directing attention to where the money is. Now, it seems that Kuwait is starting to follow this trend, just like creepy Indonesian thrillers and rural horror films.

Image | Netflix

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