Netflix Reverses Course, Bringing 3 Films to Theaters Before Streaming - The UpStream

Netflix Reverses Course, Bringing 3 Films to Theaters Before Streaming

posted Saturday Nov 3, 2018 by Scott Ertz

Netflix Reverses Course, Bringing 3 Films to Theaters Before Streaming

There is no question that streaming services are the current go-to for many movie viewers. The industry, however, feels very differently about streaming services, including industry leader Netflix. Studios and producers continue to look down on these services, despite the rising viewership versus shrinking viewership in theaters. It has caused a problem for Netflix, who has maintained a policy of "day-and-date" delivery for the films they bring to theaters, which means that they launch in theaters and on Netflix at the same time.

Because of this policy, Netflix content has been banned from the Cannes Film Festival and other similar events, preventing the company from winning these awards, which can lead to more prestige with investors, directors, producers, and studios. Hollywood heavy hitters have even petitioned the Academy to prevent Netflix from being eligible for Oscar awards, comparing Netflix originals to made for TV movies, which are also not eligible.

Seemingly in response, the company announced on Halloween that they are bringing 3 films to theaters: with exclusivity to theaters for varying lengths of time. The most notable is a black-and-white film called Roma, which has had massive festival success, even being called a masterpiece. This film will have the longest theatrical exclusivity, with it living in art-house theaters exclusively until it appears on Netflix on December 14th. In addition, Ballad of Buster Scruggs from the filmmaking masters of the Coen Brothers and Bird Box, a thriller starring Sandra Bullock.

There's no way to know what affect this will have on Netflix, of course. It's possible that the festivals who previously banned Netflix from participating will begin to reconsider their positions, but it is equally possible that they will consider this to be a pandering move and maintain their positions. One thing is for sure: very few theaters will see anything extra from this.


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