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'The Irishman' drops on Netflix in highly anticipated debut

Shawn M. Carter

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are streaming on a screen near you.

Crime thriller "The Irishman," a Netflix-backed film about hitman Frank Sheeran's checkered past, debuted on the platform Wednesday in a highly anticipated streaming premiere.

The three-and-a-half-hour picture, directed by Martin Scorsese, touts a carrousel of star power including De Niro as Sheeran, Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa, Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino and Ray Romano as Bill Bufalino.

This isn't the first time the movie is hitting screens, though. Fans got a taste of the film earlier this month when it debuted in traditional theaters in Los Angeles and New York. IMDb's Box Office Mojo estimates it drew in more nearly $350,000 worldwide.

Its streaming debut is expected to draw in millions more bingers over the holidays.

While Netflix is notoriously closed-lipped when it comes to viewership data, "The Irishman" could see similar success as "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Move," another Netflix original, which the platform said averaged more than 6.5 million viewers in its weekend reveal.

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Plus, Netflix has a chunk of the streaming market share, clocking more than 60 million U.S. subscribers versus Hulu's 26 million and 10 million for the newly launched Disney+.

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"The Irishman" debut comes at a time when the streaming wars are heating up. Apple+ launched this month alongside Disney+, armed with original programming to lure in new viewers. And HBO is set to roll out its streaming service, HBO Max, early next year.

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