Netflix, Theater chains at odds about Scorsese’s The Irishman
Previously it hasn’t been a major issue for Netflix’s award-darling movies to have a theatrical presence. ROMA played in smaller theaters last year ahead of its streaming debut with films like The Ballad of Buster Scruggs also making limited theatrical runs. Scorsese’s The Irishman is the latest Netflix original that will seemingly be playing at your local theater, though Netflix and the exhibitors are now at a bit of an impasse.
The New York Times reports (via /Film) that Netflix remains in talks with AMC Theatres and Cineplex for distribution on the film in American and Canadian theaters, but that the parties are stuck. The theater chains reportedly want a a three month exclusive window for The Irishman before it appears on the streaming service, something that “does not sit well with Netflix” according to The NYT. Scorsese made the film with Netflix aware that such a release may not happen, but is reportedly still hoping for an agreement to be made.
AMC chief executive Adam Aron told the outlet, “Talks are underway with Netflix about our showing ‘The Irishman’ and other Netflix films, but the outcome of those conversations is not yet clear.”
Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark have not been part of the discussions with Netflix, with Regal telling NYT: “Currently, we are not in any discussion with Netflix on ‘The Irishman’ nor on any other movie. Of course, if Netflix will decide to respect the industry business model and release the movie with a proper theatrical window, we will be more than happy to discuss the booking of the movie in Regal theaters.”
It’s unclear when or how these discussions will play out, or if The Irishman will play only in smaller theater chains like previous Netflix releases. In order for the film to be considered for Academy Awards (a near certainty for a Scorsese picture), all that needs to occur is for it to screen in Los Angeles for one week, a much easier task than playing nationwide in major theaters.
The negotiations between Netflix and the exhibitors have reportedly been ongoing for months, previously falling apart in July but starting back up two weeks ago. Check back here for future updates on the release of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman as we learn them.
Robert De Niro headlines The Irishman as mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, reputed to have carried out more than 25 murders. Al Pacino will portray infamously slain labor leader Jimmy Hoffa in what will mark the Academy Award winner’s first time working with Scorsese. It has also been reported that The Irishman may employ extensive (and expensive) digital de-aging techniques so the older actors can portray their characters through the decades. Joe Pesci, meanwhile, will portray Pennsylvania Mafia boss Russell Bufalino, who may have had a hand in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. Ray Romano will play another member of the same crime family, Bill Bufalino.