With Apple and Amazon Studios embracing theatrical distribution to enhance their content on streaming, is Netflix far behind?
Despite the streamer dipping its toes in the water with a $15 million-grossing limited release of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery during Thanksgiving 2022, and a hot title in the July 3 release of Eddie Murphy’s Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F (God knows, what is old is new at the box office, re Top Gun: Maverick‘s $1.49 billion global box office), Netflix Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria has no plans to double down on theatrical more than the OTT entertainment conglom already has.
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“We’re the only real pure-play streamer and our members love films and they want to see films on Netflix,” Bajaria said Wednesday night at a press conference for the streamer’s 2024 slate.
“I think a lot of companies and business do theatrical and it’s a great business for them,” she continued. “It’s just not our business.”
“Our business is to make sure that members come to Netflix, they’re in the mood for a movie and they get that movie that they want to see and that is always going to be the focus for us: Making great movies for Netflix that members want to see,” Bajaria said.
It’s been Netflix’s practice since autumn 2018, when the multi-Oscar winner Roma came out, to provide certain titles a limited theatrical release in advance of their streaming date. This window can range from a week to a month, and it’s often given to movies looking to qualify for Oscars. This year, Netflix’s Bradley Cooper-directed and -starring Maestro debuted in theaters on November 22 before hitting the service on December 20. The film is up for seven Oscars.
Netflix chairman and film boss Scott Stuber, who is departing the streamer in March, is a big believer in theatrical given his track record at Universal. Stuber is launching a new media company dedicated to theatrical releases.
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