MADRID — In the second all-time record-breaking global bow for Netflix this July, Alex Pina’s Spanish-language “La Casa de Papel” – “Money Heist” – Part 3 was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix household accounts over its first seven days after a July 19 global launch, Netflix confirmed to Variety on Thursday.
That’s the best first-week global result ever for a Netflix non-English-language series. As importantly, as Netflix drives ever more into original series production around the world, “La Casa de Papel” Part 3 also broke records as the most-watched Netflix series or film of all time in any language, including English, in many key territories around the world.
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Those countries take in not only ‘Casa’ creator Pina’s native Spain but also France and Italy as well as Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Portugal and “many others,” according to Diego Ávalos, director of originals in Spain. He added that Part 3 had also “reached a lot of people” in India. “We are proud of bringing stories that are made in Spain, to the world,” he said.
This performance turns the social-issue laced action-thriller into the biggest case in point to date of one of Netflix’s biggest gameplays as it forges an ever more international future: Its capacity to produce shows and movies around the world that not only drive up the household subscriptions in their country of origin but also across the globe.
Remarkably, above 70% of household accounts – north of 24.0 million – finished “La casa de Papel” Part 3 in its first week. That full-on binging compares to the 18.2 million who watched “Stranger Things” Season 3 completely as it set a new all-time launch record for Netflix from its July 4 launch being watched by a first four-day 40.7 million household accounts.
Why “La Casa de Papel” 3 has rocked is a moot question.
Mixing tones – action, passion and comedy at one and the same time – which you don’t see much in U.S. series, Avalos said – “La Casa de Papel” Part 3 was made at a budget which allowed it to compete with other international series, argued producer Cristina López at Vancouver Media, Pina’s Madrid production house which made the series with Netflix.
In Parts 1 and 2, the Professor cherry picks criminals – ex-cons, misfits, social write offs – to carry out a perfect heist at the Royal Mint of Spain. “La Casa de Papel” ·talks about “the marginalized, how they find a way forward. It’s something we can all identify with,” said Avalos. “It has been loved by fans all around the world because of the authenticity and originality of the storytelling.”
Part 3 also marks a step up in emotion, Avalos suggested. In it, the gang targets the Bank of Spain, in a desperate attempt to free one gang member Rio, who’s been captured. The robbery is also carried out by the Professor as a homage to Berlin, his brother, who originally thought up the plan.
Part 3 is about “love,” Avalos argued: “Love towards the world, others, themselves, other gang members who become family.”
It also connects Spanish, Latino or Latin culture, call it what you like, with the international world, said López. One crucial difference with parts 1 and 2, said Pedro Alonso, who plays the refined but embittered Berlin, is that Parts 1 and 2 captured the Professor’s “impecable” planning as he played a “chess game” with authorities. Berlin’s planned assault on the Bank of Spain, in contrast, has it flaws, which the Professor doesn’t have time to correct.
So the gang at times has to improvise.
“Latinos often have to make do with few resources, so they’ve learnt to be very good at innovation,” Avalos said.
“In U.S. British culture, there’s an aggression. The response is a perfect plan. no flaws. In Part 3, in contrast, there are losses, deaths, problems, betrayal.” That said, “Latinos, however, disastrous, can pull off the seemingly impossible.
Alonso also argued that the series appeals to a sense of industry sea change.
“Before, there was a feeling in Spain, the Latin world of being on the periphery of the real reference, the U.S industry, which, in film and TV, marked the 20th century” Alonso said.
He added: “Now there’s a new sentiment, that we can compete in terms of production levels, and create a brand which is more alive. That’s historical,and Italians, the French, Turks, industry executives and audiences, are embracing ‘La Casa de Papel’ as their own.”
Pictured: Diego Avalos, Cristina López, Pedro Alonso
Lead photo: Berlin (Alonso) is mobbed in Bogotá, at a pre-commercail release Part 3 premiere.