Variety is reporting the four largest exhibitors — AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike — separately told the trade they do not plan to show the movie as a result of Netflix’s day-and-date release effort. The reason, they do not want to provide screens to films that do not honor what is typically a 90-day delay between a theatrical debut and a home entertainment release.
Variety quotes Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse CEO and founder as saying he will still play the film, just as he did Snowpiercer last year when it had an On Demand release before going theatrical. League said, “I don’t look at myself as a competitor to Netflix. I think that argument is a little bit of a red herring. I watch a lot of movies at home, but there comes a time where I want to get out of the house. I look at cinemas as one of those options that compete with restaurants or baseball games or all of those things I can’t do in my living room.”
Of course, it’s one thing to be a boutique, independent theater chain versus the people mover multiplexes. Alamo Drafthouse has done a wonderful job catering to movie fans while the bigger multiplexes are primarily made for blockbuster cinema and not much else outside of a few outliers.
Netflix beat out the likes of Focus and Fox Searchlight for the film and producer Amy Kaufman tells Variety, “This movie will have the muscle of Netflix behind it. It will definitely be seen by a lot more and different kinds of people through Netflix than it would have through a traditional platform.”
I like the approach, get the eyeballs and worry about awards and ticket sales later, but is that a profitable approach? I really don’t know.