Movies & TV / Columns

A Look At Netflix’s Plan to Buy Their Own Theater Chain

April 21, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Bright Netflix

The Cannes Film Festival and Netflix battle is heating up! Cannes is weeks away and talk is about the disappointment that Orson Welles’ final film, The Other Side of the Wind, won’t be making its premiere there.

The reason? The Other Side of the Wind is being distributed by, you guessed it, Netflix. Last week, Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, made the announcement that they were pulling out of the festival entirely. This is in response to what Netflix views as Cannes’ restrictive requirements for what defines a competition film.

Now Netflix is reportedly making a move to get its movies on the big screen by buying its own line of theaters. The company was in talks to acquire Mark Cuban’s Landmark Theaters chain but pulled out due to the cost, according to a new report from the Los Angeles Times. A source at Variety claimed that Netflix isn’t interested in Landmark specifically, but has considered acquiring theatrical space.

While this round didn’t work out, it seems safe to say that Netflix is looking for ways to extend its reach and influence. It also looks to be a response to Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux rule that required all films to be screened in French theaters in order to be eligible for the Palme d’Or award,

The growing problems between Cannes and Netflix came to a head last year when the inclusion of two Netflix films, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) and Okja, in the competition raised protests among Netflix’s detractors. It should be noted that Cannes did not ban Netflix movies from the festival, only the competition.

Having their own line of theaters would open doors for Netflix, including awards like the Oscars, which require a theatrical release in order to be eligible. Because Netflix has a day-and-date structure, meaning their movies are available to watch simultaneously, if they do a limited theater run, and on Netflix. Major theater chains won’t carry a movie without an exclusive theatrical window.

How Netflix getting into the theater business presents a number of interesting scenarios and could be the impetus to evolve the theater model in general.

What are your thoughts on Netflix, Cannes, and the streaming giant buying its own theater chain?

article topics :

Netflix, Steve Gustafson