😎 Good morning, and welcome to 2019. We're grateful for your time and attention, and aim to always be axios — worthy.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
If this holiday season proved anything, it's that Netflix’s massive success in disrupting TV is only part of the streaming giant's playbook. Movies are its next big target, Axios media trends expert Sara Fischer reports.
Netflix reported last week that over 45 million people tuned into "Bird Box," a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Hollywood heavyweight Sandra Bullock, making it the highest seven-day viewership of any Netflix original film.
Matthew Ball, former head of Amazon Studios, tweets: This is a huge achievement. Full stop. And notably, Netflix barely promoted/marketed it. Barely a dollar."
The trend: "Netflix has clearly taken over TV in the last 10 years," Rich Greenfield, media analyst and managing partner at the investment firm BTIG, tells Axios. "It does not seem crazy to believe that they can do the same to the movie biz as they accelerate film production."
The most likely outcome could be that Netflix builds a business that relies on theaters while indirectly competing with them.
Releasing the "Bird Box" numbers, an unusual move for Netflix, could be a signal to Hollywood A-listers and production talent that they can come to Netflix to find an audience and drive enough buzz to reach cultural relevance.
The tricky part: Theatrical releases are still important for pleasing talent and award consideration. So Netflix needs to play nice with theaters, even if its product competes with them.
Bottom line: Netflix is creating an experience that's about convenience and customization. But to make it work, it needs support from Hollywood. That's why Netflix is beginning to cave to theatrical release demands.
Shutdown, Day 11 ... Human waste, overflowing garbage, illegal off-roading and other bad behavior in fragile areas is beginning to overwhelm some of the West's iconic national parks, AP's Ellen Knickmeyer and Jocelyn Gecker report:
Why it matters: Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration was leaving parks open to visitors.
"In Yellowstone National Park, private companies have picked up some of the maintenance normally done by federal workers."
A trio of Axios productions capturing transcendent themes of 2018:
"Bigger than Brett: Why Kavanaugh is so personal for women," by managing editor Kim Hart:
"The dangerous journey to asylum," by Stef Kight, who has tracked migrant family separation: "News that a 7-year-old girl died 'of dehydration and shock' in Border Patrol custody ... has focused attention on the dangers migrants and asylum-seekers face."
Above, a midnight kiss in Times Square.
Below, yellow vest protesters and spectators watch fireworks over the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
More than three-quarters of Americans are hopeful about what's ahead for them in 2019, but they're way less optimistic about what's in store for the world, according to an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.
With more than 30 Democrats mulling 2020 bids, the number "who may ultimately stay out of the race is larger than the list of contenders who are certain to run," the N.Y. Times' Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns write on the occasion of Sen. Elizabeth Warren announcing an exploratory committee:
P.S. President Trump in an interview with Fox News' Pete Hegseth, aired last night, on whether Warren believes she can win:
The cover of the WashPost Style section keeps its annual tradition of a mischievous "Out/In" list. From this year's edition, by Elahe Izadi and Sonia Rao: