There Are So Many ‘Bird Box’ Memes That People Think It’s A Netflix Conspiracy
Open your eyes! Or wait, don't.
According to Netflix, Bird Box is one of its biggest instant hits, with more than 45 million accounts streaming the film within seven days of release. Given that the streaming giant almost never reveals any numbers, it’s a surprising reveal, but one, given the proliferation of Bird Box memes online, that seems to make sense.
So. Many. Memes. Directed by Susanne Bier, Bird Box is a thriller centred on a mother (Sandra Bullock) traversing an apocalyptic world with her two children while wearing blindfolds, in order to avoid seeing the terrifying monsters that, at sight alone, have prompted mass suicides.
While critical reception is mixed, it turns out the blindfolds make for perfect joke fodder, as social media has been absolutely flooded with memes. Here are a few (and you can find a lot more on our sister site Punkee) — mild spoilers ahead, duh.
Gary: look it’s beautiful
— rebeca ✧･ﾟ: *✧･ﾟ:* (@uwueoeoeo) December 27, 2018
— RussellMartin (@RussellAMartin) December 26, 2018
Me pretending to see none of these bird box memes… pic.twitter.com/5iA7FAIe6Q
— Elvin. (@ElvinAdan_G) December 26, 2018
I think I would have liked Bird Box more if they'd called it Mary Poppins Returns and didn't change anything else
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) December 31, 2018
Me showing everyone Birdbox memes. pic.twitter.com/oTyMyer4Jz
— Vince Metz (@Vincent_vanGrow) December 31, 2018
While meme responses are nothing noteworthy of themselves (remember all the A Quiet Place memes? What about Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again? Avengers: Infinity War?), Bird Box memes have exploded online in a way since the film dropped on December 21 that some found a little suspect.
“I was kind of shocked after looking for my Bird Box review on Friday to see the zone so flooded with memes,” tweeted New York Magazine writer Emily Yoshida. “almost as if they had been pre-made, waiting in a folder on an intern’s computer… ready to launch at 2:00AM ET.”
A full conspiracy was launched by Twitter user @samiswine, which saw more than 3,600 retweets before it was deleted (but still viewable via archives). In it, they alleged that Netflix was using fake accounts “with suspiciously low tweet/follower counts to seed Twitter with viral memes” to create hype, which, while sounding a little tin foil-y, does make sense as a strategy.
And, on face value, it checks out — a heap of the most viral Tweets were made by largely inactive accounts with few followers. It’s probably not the case, though. Over at Mashable, writer Morgan Sung makes a pretty solid case for debunking the theory.
Firstly, a lot of the accounts indirectly called out by @samiswine clarified they were real people: sure, we could throw that out the window, but it’s something. Then there’s the fact that it’s the holidays: people love to do shit-all, and have the time to sit down and watch a movie based off some memes. They’re also likely on social media more, too — and have time to make memes.
As for the low-follower counts? Sung points out it’s pretty on-trend to Instagram text/image based memes, and screen-shotting a Tweet is an easy way to do that. Makes sense, right?
For the record, Netflix hasn’t commented on the conspiracy, though a rep has said the memes have spread organically. Keep your eyes open, people.