A Spanish Money Laundering Thriller Is Making Its Way Up Netflix Charts

One of the great things about Netflix is that even as it contributes to the slow mediocritization of filmmaking, it continues to broaden our collective cultural horizons. Yes, for every Kevin Hart's "Lift," which inexplicably had Netflix viewers enraptured earlier this year, there's a foreign film or series that we'd otherwise never have a chance to see. Last year, Indian thriller "Jaane Jaan" topped the Netflix charts in the U.S. while Mexican series "Thursday's Widows" saw similar streaming success stateside.

Now, it's Spain's turn. The country has had a mixed record when it comes to its streaming exports. Last year, god awful Spanish slasher "Killer Book Club" somehow had the Netflix charts in a stranglehold, but the country somewhat redeemed itself with the Oscar-nominated "Society of the Snow," which hit Netflix in January 2024. Now, España has delivered yet another Netflix hit with "El Correo" or "The Courier."

This crime thriller film comes from director Daniel Calparsoro, and stars Arón Piper as a golf club valet who works his way up through the ranks of a money laundering cartel. Set in 2002, when Spain adopts the Euro as its currency, "El Correo" follows the ambitious Iván as he transports briefcases around the world before eventually trying to get a bigger and bigger cut of the illicit profits he's been tasked with guarding. In a way, it's a sort of Spanish "Wolf of Wall Street," if you will, which doesn't really sound all that appealing does it? Well, as the movie's 40% Rotten Tomatoes score reveals, "El Correo" wasn't well received when it arrived in Spanish theaters on January 19, 2024. Still, Calparsoro can at least rest easy in the knowledge that his movie has now managed to gain the attention of Netflix users worldwide.

El Correo is a hit on Netflix

"El Correo" debuted on Netflix on May 10, 2024 and became the ninth most-watched film on the service two days later. However, as streaming viewership tracker FlixPatrol shows, since its arrival on the service, "El Correo" has finessed its way up the rankings, and on May 13 managed to snag the third position, where it remains as of May 14. That's an impressive run for the Spanish thriller, and a significant jump from May 12 to May 13, suggesting Netflixers are streaming this one in earnest.

But it doesn't stop with Netflix U.S. The movie has also managed to capture global attention upon its streaming debut. "El Correo" is currently charting in 64 countries around the world, and has nabbed the top spot in five of them. As of May 14, the movie is number one in Argentina, Germany, Oman, Turkey, and Uruguay, though it isn't currently available on Netflix in its native Spain, so there's no way to tell whether the film would have more success on streaming than it did in Spanish theaters.

Still, this is a pretty impressive streaming debut for "El Correo," which, considering its momentum, could still make it to the top spot in the States before the week is up. At the time of writing, it has to beat the current number one movie in the U.S., Brooke Shields rom-com "Mother of the Bride" (which shouldn't be that tough of a challenge). But what might prove more difficult is taking out everyone's favorite ogre. "Shrek" has taken over Netflix in the past week, and currently holds the number two spot. It will be interesting to see if "El Correo" can defeat Dreamworks' pride and joy as things play out.

What does the success of El Correo mean?

So far, "El Correo" has had its best run in Turkey, where it hit number four on the Netflix most-watched charts on May 11, 2024 before shooting into the number one spot on May 12, where it has remained since. In Germany and Uruguay, the movie actually debuted at number two on the charts, before taking the top spot in both countries on May 13. Let's hope "El Correo" can continue its climb up the U.S. charts if only to ensure the very, very silly "Unfrosted" doesn't once again claim the top spot for a second week running.

There are a few things worth bearing in mind when thinking about any of these Netflix statistics. Firstly, the streamer's viewing metrics have always been dodgy, and don't really give you the whole picture. What's more, the Netflix top 10 website was launched to essentially distract from the flimsy viewing metrics. On top of all that, as the success of Michael Fassbender flop "The Snowman" on Netflix in 2023 showed, Netflix viewers will watch pretty much anything (see the aforementioned "Lift").

With all that said, you've gotta take your Netflix wins where you can get them, and "El Correo" certainly isn't the worst foreign film to find its way onto the worldwide charts. It's at least not another "Killer Book Club."