French series Lupin tops Queen's Gambit views on Netflix

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Omar Sy in Lupin.
Omar Sy in Lupin.
Photo: Netflix
  • French series Lupin is about to kick The Queens Gambit out of the top stop of Netflix's most-watched series.
  • The series starring Oma Sy is on track for 70 million views worldwide in its first month on the streaming service.
  • The company also revealed that they now have 203 million subscribers worldwide.

The Netflix-produced series Lupin, a sly modern take on France's beloved gentleman thief, is on track for 70 million views worldwide in its first month, setting a record for a French TV show, the streaming platform said Tuesday.

On the basis of current trends the series - starring Omar Sy of Untouchable fame - will have breezed past Netflix's biggest recent blockbuster The Queen's Gambit which has 62 million views and other English-language hits including Bridgerton. 

The Netflix projection covers the 28 days to 5 February; the company told AFP.

"70 million, that's crazy", Omar Sy tweeted. "So proud that Lupin is the first French series to have such an international success."

Only half of the first season's ten episodes have so far been available on Netflix.

They are top of the viewing charts in around ten countries, including Brazil, Vietnam, Argentina and Spain.

The 1905 book on which the series is loosely based, Arsene Lupin - Gentleman Burglar by French novelist Maurice Leblanc - has shot to the top of book sales on since the release of the TV show.

In the series, based in modern-day Paris, Sy plays Assane Diop who uses the gentleman thief and master of disguise as his inspiration in his quest to avenge his father for an injustice inflicted by a wealthy family.

"For an actor, Lupin is the perfect plaything," Sy told the 20 Minutes daily. "His role is dramatic, but also light, funny, seductive and action-packed," he said.

Asked why so few black actors played leading roles in French productions, Sy said: "I don't know. But let's hope that we've set something in motion with Lupin".

The series, produced by Gaumont, was mostly written by Briton George Kay, whose past work includes Killing Eve, Criminal and The Hour, in collaboration with Frenchman Francois Uzan, author of French series Family business, another Netflix production.

Kay told AFP earlier this month that "what is great about Omar is that when he plays Assane with his charisma and his smile, you want him to succeed, even when he's breaking the rules".

Netflix keeps growing

The streaming service also revealed that it added some 8.5 million paid subscribers in the quarter to reach 203 million, topping 200 million despite recent price hikes, its quarterly earning update showed.

"Covid-19 has accelerated that big shift from linear to streaming entertainment," Netflix chief financial officer Spencer Neumann said on an earnings call.

"So, the underlying long-term looks good."

Netflix also teased an announcement regarding its new period drama Bridgerton from Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland.

"The title has proven immensely popular and we'll have some exciting news about Bridgerton later this week."

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