Netflix faces flak for going straight to the big screen
Likely Oscar contender among the cinema releases that will only be streamed up to a month later
Netflix will debut three of its upcoming original films in a limited number of cinemas before the movies appear on the streaming service. The move for Roma, Bird Box and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a change from the company’s traditional practice of releasing movies in cinemas and on Netflix on the same day.
Roma, a black-and-white Spanish-language film about a housekeeper in Mexico, will start playing in cinemas in Los Angeles, New York and Mexico on November 21 and later expand to other cities and countries.
Directed by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron, Roma will debut on Netflix and in additional theaters on December 14.
At the end of September, Netflix had 137 million subscribers to its movie and TV streaming service. It began stocking its library with original films just three years ago.
Netflix had been insisting that any of the movies it sent to cinemas be available to its streaming membership on the same day. Most large theatre chains remain opposed to Netflix films, and some prominent directors have objected to the idea that their movies would be seen mostly on the small screen. Now, Netflix’s strategy is evolving.
Roma is a likely contender for best picture, according to Hollywood awards experts, and Netflix’s release strategy for the film is similar to ones used by traditional studios to promote their art house movies ahead of awards voting.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, by Fargo filmmakers Ethan and Joel Coen, will start a limited theatrical run on November 8, eight days before its debut on Netflix.
Bird Box, a thriller starring Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson, will begin playing in some theatres on December 13 before hitting Netflix on December 21.