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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » Netflix begrudgingly giving some movies a teensy-tiny theatrical release

   
Author Topic: Netflix begrudgingly giving some movies a teensy-tiny theatrical release
Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 11-08-2018 03:15 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Without actually saying it, Netflix is finally coming around to the idea that they need to release their movies in theaters to give them legitimacy amongst all their straight-to-video offerings, but a "one-week" theatrical window seems more like insult than concession. I hope all their theatrical grosses are in the basement, otherwise other studios might follow the same stupid path.

Andy Serkis’ ‘Mowgli’ Gets Theatrical Release Ahead of Netflix Debut

Netflix says it will honor its promise to give a theatrical release to “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle,” the big-budget fantasy film by actor-director Andy Serkis.

The streaming giant said it would give the picture a limited theatrical release from Nov. 29 in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and London. “Mowgli” will then be available globally on Netflix from Dec. 7. Following that, it will have an expanded theatrical release in additional theaters in the U.S. and U.K.

The film sees Serkis (“Lord of the Rings”) give a radical spin to the classic Rudyard Kipling novel about a boy raised in the jungle. According to Netflix, the boy, Mowgli, is “torn between two worlds, accepts his destiny and becomes a legend…[He] has never truly belonged in either the wilds of the jungle or the civilized world of man [and] now must navigate the inherent dangers of each on a journey to discover where he truly belongs.”

“I wanted to make an emotional version of this story, which has already been told many times,“ Serkis said Thursday in Singapore. “I wanted to explore being an outsider. Being dislodged, being other. It is a hugely contemporary idea that could do with exploration.“

Netflix snagged the film from Warner Bros. in July this year. The acquisition is believed to be one of Netflix’s costliest purchases. Warner Bros. had planned to release the movie in October.

The streamer’s theatrical release plans honor a commitment made by Netflix at the time of the film’s acquisition. It also set up the visually spectacular and talent-laden film for entry into the Academy Awards race. “Mowgli” stars newcomer Rohan Chand in the title role, with an all-star supporting cast in performance-capture roles, including Serkis, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Freida Pinto, Matthew Rhys and Naomie Harris.

Netflix’s move is also in line with commitments to give theatrical releases to Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” the Coen brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and “Bird Box.” Netflix has been rebuffed by some festivals, most notably Cannes, and some film trade associations for not doing enough to show its big-screen productions in theaters.

Variety article

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 11-09-2018 01:46 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe this is just a front for some other means, like getting those movies into the race for e.g. the Academy Awards.

But don't you think it's actually better to hope their half-hearted attempt at a theatrical release are an actual success?

Because if they see the value of an exclusive cinematic release window, how would that be bad for exhibitors like you? Netflix is putting a lot of money into their own content creation, none of which currently benefits the exhibition industry.

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Dennis Benjamin
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 - posted 11-09-2018 12:42 PM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The ONLY reason they are doing it is so the films are eligible for Oscars.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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 - posted 11-09-2018 05:52 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Agreed. It's all about the technicalities of qualifying for Oscar nominations. And the theatrical release window will hardly be a window at all. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is opening in some movie theaters this week. It will be on Netflix next week, November 15. Netflix is, at best, giving these few movies a theatrical release window between 1 and 3 weeks.

Alamo Drafthouse turned down booking Roma after negotiations fell apart. Netflix is wanting to book that movie in theaters equipped with Dolby Atmos or 70mm film projection. Such theaters are not common. Most Atmos-equipped theaters are showing mainstream major studio releases.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 11-12-2018 01:08 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Marcel Birgelen
But don't you think it's actually better to hope their half-hearted attempt at a theatrical release are an actual success?
No! Don't you see... if they put out some movie with a one-week window and gross $75 million on it, then the other studios will go "SEE! The one week window didn't hurt THEIR grosses at all!" and start doing the same thing.

I know that the Netflix move is about Oscar eligibility, but I also know that it drives them crazy that a lot of directors and other "film people" don't consider their movies to be "real movies" because they aren't shown in theaters. So this IS about the Oscars, but it's also about the perception of their content.

Personally I wish the Academy would institute a minimum theatrical window for Oscar consideration. A one-week thing is just like I said at the top, an insult to this industry.

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Mark Ogden
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 - posted 11-12-2018 05:46 AM      Profile for Mark Ogden   Email Mark Ogden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's not JUST about Oscar qualifications, it's also about attracting talent. A top level producer or director, a Scorsese, a Nolan, a Spielberg for instance, wants a theatrical release for their movies. They want the big screen before the small screen. Netflix clearly wants to play at that level, to break out of the smaller gross art-house fare and into more mainstream films. This is what they will have to arrange to get the A-list players who aren't ready to concede that streaming is the way of the future. Amazon figured that out years ago and now they tend to leave their pictures out in theaters for awhile, and it has worked well for them.

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Pravin Ratnam
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 - posted 11-12-2018 08:19 AM      Profile for Pravin Ratnam   Email Pravin Ratnam   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
as far as I am concerned , a lot of movies have a one or two week window anyway as they get shunted to the small screens in the multiplex after the opening week.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
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 - posted 11-12-2018 01:04 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Even though a big new movie often gets moved from the biggest, best screens in the complex after a week or two the movie is still playing exclusively in commercial movie theaters. I have a big problem with the release window for most studio movies being as short as it is. It's now down to a range of 10-16 weeks from a movie's theatrical opening day until it's available on home video (download/streaming, Blu-ray or both). More releases are trending closer to that 3 month mark.

If major studios took all their movie projects and applied a 1-3 week release window, like what Netflix is doing with the handful of movies it's releasing in theaters, it would kill off most commercial movie theaters just as surely as the day-and-date release model.

Only a minority of Americans visit commercial movie theaters more than a few times per year. The majority of Americans don't visit movie theaters at all. Of the customers that do visit theaters, how many are still going to choose paying a significant sum of money to watch a movie at the theater if they can watch the same movie now or 7 days from now at home for a far lower price? Not many are going to stay faithful to supporting the theatrical experience. I think many theaters would lose too many of their core customers to stay afloat financially.

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Dave Bird
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 - posted 11-12-2018 04:51 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Still baffles me a little bit why all the exhibitors don't throw in and try at least a handful of films as their own studio, along with old-school extra-long theatre run. More and more entities taking a crack at it, nothing to say they couldn't.

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Mark Ogden
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^ That happened as recently as 2011, when Regal and AMC formed Open Road Films. Despite having a Best Picture Oscar winner, the venture was mostly a bust with only a handful of mildly profitable pictures and a whole lot of others that broke even or lost money. They sold it in 2017 to a company that is now bankrupt.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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 - posted 11-12-2018 06:56 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Aren't there still some anti-trust style restrictions in place (Paramount consent decrees) for a movie company to be effectively vertically integrated, owning its own operations for production, distribution and exhibition?

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 11-14-2018 03:28 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There was the "United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc." case of 1948, back when studios started to own large parts of the exhibition system. But I think it's somewhat of a long-shot to use that lawsuit as case law for the current situation.

Most antitrust laws focus on the "horizontal reach" of a certain company in a certain market. And even then, in the U.S., it's not forbidden, by law, to run a monopoly, as long as you do not abuse the situation by "obstructing" the free market. And as we know, the interpretation of what counts as abuse and simply hard but still legal competition, is pretty much in the stars...

But I think that neither Netflix nor Amazon currently are sufficiently large to call them a monopoly in their respective markets.

I think that the best argument for an exclusive theatrical release window is simply money. As soon as they realize they can make a ton of extra money by giving a high-profile release an exclusive, A-list, theatrical release, not only they themselves, but also their shareholders might get hooked on the idea...

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