Movies & TV / Columns

Thoughts on Netflix’s Plan to Release More Films in Theaters

August 4, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

“Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films. They have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation. So they’re not even getting in the game, and I think they’re missing a huge opportunity.”

“I think the investment that Netflix is putting into interesting filmmakers and interesting projects would be more admirable if it weren’t being used as some kind of bizarre leverage against shutting down theaters. It’s so pointless. I don’t really get it.” – Director Christopher Nolan

In a recent interview, Nolan was asked it he would ever make a movie with Netflix. His reply:

“Why would you? If you make a theatrical film, it’s to be played in theaters.”

Now directors Both Alfonso Cuaron and Paul Greengrass are saying they want more than a token run in theaters for their new upcoming movies and how Netflix responds could set the tempo for future filmmakers.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that “sources” say Netflix is considering opening up awards-qualifying releases, which would include Curaron’s and Greengrass’.

Netflix has partnerships with iPic and Landmark Theatres, renting them in order for its movies to be in consideration for awards. Last year 33 Netflix movies played on the big screen but Netflix has not reported any box office numbers on their performance.

The issue theaters have is Netflix’s insistence on having theater and streaming release on the same day. Amazon Prime avoided this conflict by working with theater owners to hold off on streaming until an agreed upon date.

The Cannes Film Festival and Netflix made headlines earlier this 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.

Soon after rumors popped up that the streaming service was 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 report from the Los Angeles Times.

While Netflix is looking for respectability in the theater, a storm is brewing after shareholders of 21st Century Fox and Disney voted to approve Disney’s $71.3 billion buyout of major Fox assets, seriously boosting Disney’s archives and options.

Disney is launching a competing platform in 2019, which is bad news for Netflix. So far executives from the streamer have been nonplussed about the announcement but insiders say serious talks are going on behind closed doors.

The fact that Netflix has been an entertainment game changer is undisputed. Movie theater and television has transformed in ways that didn’t seem possible 5, 10 years ago. As how we view shows and movies continues to evolve, Netflix now finds itself facing increased competition and questions on its own future.

What’s next for Netflix?

article topics :

Netflix, Steve Gustafson