THB Headline: There Netflix Goes Again...
This is a very sensitive issue for Netflix. My apologies to them in advance.
They have wanted, for years now, to make the claim that their awards films are theatrically released. And to some degree they are… but not in anything resembling the traditional way.
They basically 4-wall as many as 600 screens, including the theaters that they control in Los Angeles and New York. A few years back, they dramatically rented a Broadway theater and made it into a cinema for a few weeks for The Irishman. Very clever. A show of respect to Scorsese. And pricey for them.
Netflix announced their plans for this year’s line-up of fall/winter titles at the end of August. Did you know that Blonde has a 12-day theatrical before it was released onto the service last month? It did!
So today they announced that Glass Onion, the sequel to Knives Out, would get a 600-screen theatrical from Nov 23 - 29. They even added AMC to the list of chains that would show the film.
In other words… same old, same old.
As with The Irishman, with Mank, with The Power of the Dog… they tried. They tried hard. Believe it.
Scott Stuber isn’t really even hiding it this year: “We hope fans will enjoy this special theatrical event in celebration of the film’s global debut on Netflix in December.”
It’s a celebration, not a theatrical release.
Interestingly, the very uncommercial Netflix release White Noise is scheduled for a theatrical starting on November 25. Scrooge, the new-take on the 1960s musical, is supposed to be in theaters for 2 weeks, starting November 18. Will the uncommercial film, the musical version of A Christmas Carol, and maybe Netflix’s most commercial film share screens in non-Netflix theaters? I don’t know.
What I do know is that with legitimate Oscar nomination hopes, Glass Onion has to not only qualify for Oscar, but with all kinds of awards voting happening after Thanksgiving, is best served by being available to voters in a movie theater and not just a television before voting begins. And so, it will be. For a week… the length required for a qualifier.
But what if the film is a significant hit during its one week in theaters? It is easy to imagine an unusually high percentage of seats sold across the country for this better-than-the-original-reviewed sequel. They should have a bit over 4 million available seats in the 1-week run, about 1/5 of what, say, Spider-Man: No Way Home had. Even if they did a little less well than Spidey, the film could generate $50 million - $75 million in a week. The original opened to about $35 million in 3500 venues in its first Friday-Thursday week. So, with this screen cap, if it did $25 million, it would be enormously impressive. $20 million even.
The odds are, we will never know what kind of box office it does in that week… unless Netflix decides to use it as a marketing angle... which would beg the question, why not more?
Why won’t Netflix just go ahead, with a movie that has everything going for it going into a theatrical window, not go after a legit theatrical window of 4 weeks or 6 weeks?
It honestly defies logic.
I completely get why they aren’t going to spend $30 million in domestic marketing for Bardo or The Wonder or even Guillermo’s Pinocchio. Wonderful as I am sure it will be, Laika - the primary stop-motion house in recent years - hasn’t gotten to $60 million domestic since Coraline, 13 years ago. No matter how good the film, there can be risk.
But you would have to look far, far away to find anyone who would not expect a well-marketed Glass Onion to do any less than $100 million in 4 weeks of domestic theatrical.
Not only would it be good for the bottom line. Not only would it make the film much more valuable going onto Netflix at Christmas. Not only would it be a great help to the exhibition business. But it would also show some love for cinema and respect to The Academy, which has shown a willingness to nominate Netflix’s barely-released theatricals, but not a willingness to vote for them to win.
To try to label anything Net Trix does with their movies in theaters as a theatrical release is a pathetic joke.
I'm so tired of this. Net Trix as we all know wants their cake and eat it too. They want to kill theatrical, but they want to bend the Oscar rules to suit them.
Four walling a bunch of screens in NYC and/or LA is NOT releasing a film theatrically. Please.
What I have never understood is why on the one hand they do everything in their power to kill theatrical, and then on the other hand they get on their knees and beg to try to win Academy Awards. This continues to be one of the stupidest things I've ever seen in my lifetime of watching pop culture.
Go make your own awards. You want so bad to kill the old ways and the traditions, and yet you grovel for some reason for this. Show some balls and just go your own way when it comes to the Oscars. The Oscars mean less and less with each passing year anyway, at least have the stones to come out and say, "you know what, we don't care about Oscars, because the rules are that movies need to run theatrically and we're not in that game. Instead, we're in the running for the new streaming awards, or whatever it should be for Net Trix, Prime, HBO Max and the others.
Show some stones. Don't be such a high degree of hypocrite. It's not a good look.
I cannot stand Net Trix. The way they slap the exhibitors in he face, and the studios, it makes me sick. There isn't anybody out there in the business that hates to see audiences getting together to experience a great film in a theater more than Net Trix. So what they're saying to film lovers in Chicago, in Seattle, in San Diego, Denver, Austin, basically everywhere, is that you will NOT see our Academy movies in a theater. But we are going to get around the system by showing the film for 5 days in a bunch of screens we've paid for in NYC. Or LA.
BEYOND dumb. Pathetic.
And it all comes back to one single thing for me: I can name you the number of films that i saw first on my TV that are among the greatest screenings of a movie I've ever seen.
That's how many times I've memorably first watched a film on my TV. Zero. And when i look back on the hundreds (maybe thousands) of movies i've seen (I'm old), all of the greatest experiences have been in a movie theater, with an audience. So you know what? I couldn't care less about seeing The Irishman on my laptop. My Iphone. Please LOL. What a joke.
Net Trix: Get off my lawn.