Tragedy of Macbeth becomes bloody hit for Apple TV+


Denzel Washington stars in The Tragedy of MacBeth.
‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ is drawing a big audience for this murderous classic from the Bard.
Photo: Apple TV+

The Tragedy of Macbeth was the third most watched movie on all the streaming services in the United States during January. And it was only available for half the month.

The Apple TV+ version starring starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand is also getting rave reviews from critics.

The Popularity of Macbeth

JustWatch tracks the streaming business, and its chart for January puts Apple TV+’s Shakespearean tragedy in the number three spot among U.S. watchers, as noted. And the film only debuted on the streaming service on January 14 so it missed a bout more than half the month.

The only movies that were more popular in the first month of 2022 were Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Sing 2.

Note than this includes only films — series are tracked separately.

<em>Tragedy of Macbeth</em> becomes bloody hit for Apple TV+
Tragedy of Macbeth joins the most popular streaming films in January 2021.
Photo: JustWatch

Neither Apple nor any of the other streaming services report viewership for all their shows. But JustWatch runs a video recommendation service so they know what people are looking for. That lets them estimate the popularity of films and series.

The Tragedy of Macbeth is a critic’s darling

The Apple TV+ rendition of The Scottish Play has a 93% approval rating from the review-aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Washington plays the doomed King of Scotland. McDormand is his scheming wife. (Spoiler for a play first performed in 1606: they and the other characters are all murdered by the end of the movie. All of them.)

Drawing lots of attention and praise to a story that’s been out 400+ years takes something special, but director Joel Coen delivers. “Joel seems to have been looking for an excuse to make a movie and really focus on the imagery above all else,” said Scout Tafoya in the Cult of Mac review.

And the actors add plenty, of course. Denzel Washington alone has received two Oscars out of nine nominations, along with three Golden Globes and a Tony Award. Frances McDormand has four Oscars and two Golden Globes

A $4.99-a-month subscription to Apple TV+ is all that it takes to join the many, many people watching The Tragedy of Macbeth.


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