Have you seen those TV ads for Kevin Hart's new energy and wellness blender smoothie, VitaHustle?
The world's first "super drink" uses a "targeted blend of 86 premium superfoods that boost the seven areas that unlock your peak mental and physical performance," Hart says in the commercial.
Does the stuff really work?
Take a look at the actor-comedian/multi-multi-hyphenate's IMDb profile, and Hart's recent workload stands as a kind of product testimonial. Outside of, say, the ambitious aughts-era calendar kept by Ryan Seacrest and a few other showbiz workaholics, few have put in 168-hour weeks quite like Hart has over the last few years.
Through his mega-prolific Laugh Out Loud Productions, Hart has forged deals to produce -- and in most cases, star in -- content for Pluto TV, Roku Channel, BET, Peacock and YouTube, among others.
Titles include his own Peacock talk show, Hart to Heart, tongue-in-cheek "action" series Die Hart, originally greenlit by defunct Quibi and rescued by Roku, sports-themed comedy/variety/talk series Kevin Hart: Cold as Balls for YouTube, and meta-themed series Real Husbands of Hollywood for BET.
And none of this is even mentioning Hart's prolific catalog of Netflix titles, which have included two rather ambitious buddy comedies over just the last two months, the hitman-meets-loser laugher Man From Toronto, co-starring Woody Harrelson, and the comic's latest Netflix film debut, Me Time, casting Hart alongside another active Netflix player, Mark Wahlberg.
Unfortunately, for subscriber-growth-constricted Netflix, the audience performance for Hart's most recent works could sure use a blend of 86 premium superfoods.
Me Time, which debuted Friday, attracted a so-so 59.2 million viewing hours on Netflix's global platform in its first three days. That premiere performance bested the 53.9 million hour debut of The Man From Toronto back in June. But Hart, who last year signed -- in the words of Vulture -- a "massive Adam Sandler-like" four-film deal with Netflix, hasn't produced Sandler-like audience ratings, with Me Time's debut falling well short of the 84.5 million-hour premiere mark set in June by Sandler's NBA-scout-themed Hustle.
Notably, each of Hart's recent titles failed to grow audience significantly after their average debut performance. The Man From Toronto generated an OK 62.6 million hours in its first full seven-day week after its three-day premiere window, but it fell into a dark, cold Saskatchewan winter from that point forward, losing nearly half its audience the following week.
Meanwhile, Hart's limited Netflix series True Story, in which he played a murderous meta version of his standup self, alongside a nice comeback performance from Wesley Snipes, started off lukewarm last November (48.9 million viewing hours) before the ratings hammer dropped harder than a Snipes IRS audit in Week 2 (29 million viewing hours).
As for the reviews? Let's just say Hart's vitamin milkshakes seem to be faring much better.
Me Time scored a 7% on Rotten Tomatoes -- which was somehow worse than the 24% score generated by The Man From Toronto.
Me Time's awful critical mass, combined with the aggregate scoring for Netflix's top TV series title last week, Echoes (28%), prompted a Forbes contributor to wonder Tuesday if Netflix has a "quality control problem" ... and if so, is it actually getting worse?
As the Streaming Wars reach more Darwinian stages, that's starting to become a pretty good question.
Echoes, a Matt Bomer-led limited series mystery thriller, led Netflix's global platform for the week of August 22-28 with a decent second-week performance of 68.5 million viewing hours.
Echoes displaced the previous week's audience ratings champ, Korean-language series Extraordinary Attorney Woo, which experienced its first week-over-week drop to 53.9 million viewing hours, after steadily building its audience over the previous month.
Notably, Extraordinary Attorney Woo, a Korean drama about an autistic but high-IQ young female lawyer, was challenged by newly arrived Mexican Spanish-language crime drama High Heat, which delivered 53.4 million viewing hours in its first week.
Also notable: The third part of Netflix's 365 Days veritable soft-porn saga, The Next 365 Days, yielded just 27 million viewing hours last week after an, er, flaccid first-three-day performance of just 39 million viewing hours.
Part II of the English-language film series, tracking the travails of a young Polish woman unable to resist the charisma and magnetism of her murderous gangster kidnapper, debuted to nearly 78 million viewing hours back in April.
Even in the realm of soft porn, sustaining momentum for franchises is hard. OK! I'll stop. Here's charts.
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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