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Netlfix open to playing their movies in theaters

04.24.2017

The atmospheric rise of movie and TV streaming services like Netflix and Hulu has caused many to panic over the future of established institutions – mainly movie theaters. Are they the next Blockbuster Video, doomed to become nothing more than empty buildings for ruffians to graffiti and for the homeless to make their toilet? Probably not, as even Netflix understands that theaters have a place, and are even open to a greater, cooperative relationship with movie theater giants.

As part their first quarter letter to the shareholders, Netflix cited the releases of shows like Marvel’s IRON FIST and stand-up specials from Dave Chappelle have made for an already good year for the company. They then briefly brought up their movie slate, mentioning how the future could see some of their movies also making their way into theaters:

Since our members are funding these films, they should be the first to see them. But we are also open to supporting the large theater chains, such as AMC and Regal in the US, if they want to offer our films, such as our upcoming Will Smith film Bright , in theatres simultaneous to Netflix. Let consumers choose.

This could be great news for movie buffs who believe sitting in a large auditorium is the best way to watch any sort of feature film. The upcoming BRIGHT was made with a blockbuster budget in the neighborhood of $90 million, so watching it on your phone seems like disservice. Smaller films on Netflix, like their tremendous BEASTS OF NO NATION, have gotten limited theatrical runs to qualify for the Oscars, but releasing them on a wider scale could bring them greater notoriety and exposure. However, the “simultaneous” part is what could kill the whole idea.

From a business sense, movie theaters are basically sugar emporiums that offer customers a movie to watch as they increase their risk of diabetes. At the end of the day, they’re not going to waste screens on something that’s already available, say, on Netflix, and it means taking away screen time from something that can actually drive business in. Every weak movie in a theater limits the movie-making potential, so keeping something around for even a week or two that isn't selling tickets is a waste of money. Plus, the phrase "I'll wait for Netflix" is commonplace at this point, because a lot of consumers would rather stay at home than put on pants and go into the world...especially for $12 a person.

At the end of the day, it would be a great option for cinefiles trying to keep the movie theater experience alive, but most consumers are not part of that group. Most people will opt to watch it at home than go for a pricey night out, so if theaters chains do decide to play Netflix movies there are going to have to have some serious conditions attached. I'm all in, for many reasons, but the big reason is because no one should keep Big Willie Smith in a cell phone. For him anything smaller than IMAX is a crime.

Source: Netflix

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