For some time, Netflix has been making top-tier movies. They know it, their viewers know it, and the powers that be at the Academy Awards know it. Understandably, that is not enough for Netflix. The streaming giant doesn’t want to be recognized as making Oscar caliber movies — they’d rather prefer to be known for making Oscar winning movies.
Now, they are ready to do something about it.
The problem is Netflix’s business model — and more specifically, how it clashes with the traditional movie industry model. For Netflix to get the recognition that they crave, one of those models is going to have to change. The movie industry is bigger, older, and wealthier. Netflix has signaled that they are ready to budge.
Deadline Hollywood notes in a recent headline, “Netflix Alters Model; Gives Awards Films ‘Roma’, ‘Buster Scruggs’ & ‘Bird Box’ Theatrical Runs Before Streaming.”
Deadline Hollywood elaborates further in the body text of the article.
“In a seismic move that Deadline earlier this week revealed was coming, Netflix will boost the awards chances of several contending films by setting exclusive limited theatrical releases prior to the streaming service releases of the Alfonso Cuaron-directed Roma, the Joel & Ethan Coen-directed The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and the Susanne Bier-directed Bird Box, latter of which stars Sandra Bullock.”
Oscar voters tend to discount films that did not have a traditional theatrical release. They also prefer movies to have a long window between theatrical release and streaming. This has not been the business model for Netflix at any point in time — in fact, the Netflix model poses an existential threat to the traditional movie industry. So Netflix is seeking to do a limited theatrical release of three award-caliber movies before they are released to their paying customers.
Roma will be theatrically released in over 20 territories worldwide. Among the targeted cities will be Los Angeles, New York, London, and Mexico. The roll-out will begin December 7, with the film being released on Netflix one week later.
Expect The Ballad of Buster Scruggs to get its theatrical debut on November 8 at the Landmark in Los Angeles, The Landmark 57 West in New York, the Embarcadero Center Cinema in San Francisco, and Curzon Theater in London. The Bird Box will also open in Los Angeles, New York, and London on December 13 — with Netflix streaming starting on December 21.
These are not the only contenders that Netflix is planning to distribute. Also in the works are The Irishman, a Martin Scorsese film with Robert De Niro; The Laundromat with Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, and Gary Oldman — as directed by Steven Soderbergh; and The King with Timothee Chalamet as Henry V, which will be directed by David Michod.
Netflix is looking to advance it’s Academy Award agenda and wants to be taken seriously during awards season. There is a very good chance that the industry titan ise going to make a serious splash as their original content enters competition for the biggest laurels in showbiz.