In recent years, Netflix has become a major player in the world of original cinema, from Marriage Story to The Irishman, right up to Luther: The Fallen Sun and All Quiet on the Western Front, which looks set for huge success at this year’s Oscars.
You can catch the trailer for that film below:
For films like The Irishman, that was a godsend because it was really very long, so being not far away from the pause button and your bathroom was a great relief in more ways than one.
But, it does beg the question, why release them in cinemas at all? After all, they have no need to - it's not a money thing.
Enough eyes will be on the flicks anyway, and they can even choose to promote them to people through their own app.
Well, the actual truth is that it’s at least partially to do with awards.
With All Quiet on the Western Front up for loads of awards, and Marriage Story and The Irishman getting Best Picture nods in recent years, it’s clear that Netflix has successfully made the move into original cinema.
However, if you want to be considered for such awards, you have to have at least some theatrical release, which means that Netflix has been buying up time at cinemas in order to make sure their films can be included when the gongs are handed out.
Speaking in an interview during awards season of 2020 – just before the cinemas all closed and we had no choice but to watch everything at home – the vice president of programming and entertainment at research-based media firm Magid, Zak Shaikh, said: “I see it as marketing. Like how Warby Parker or Amazon (AMZN) has retail stores.”
He told CNN Business: “It’s about promoting the brand and encouraging filmmakers to feel their artistic endeavors will get fully supported by Netflix.”
When you want to hire filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, you’re going to need to make sure their desires are met if you want to have success.
His film The Irishman wasn’t given a wide release, but Netflix rented out the Belasco Theatre on New York’s Broadway to show the film, which meant that it could be considered for awards.
It also makes Netflix look like a big player, which never hurts.
Another expert, Paul Dergarabedian from Comscore, added: “The Oscars exist to honor [sic] films that play in movie theaters.
“A limited theatrical release checks multiple boxes. It arguably boosts a film’s profile and perhaps most importantly a big screen release makes filmmakers and talent happy.”
It might be a non-traditional way of going about things, and maybe it rubs a few people up the wrong way, but Netflix doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and we might be hearing even more about them when the golden statues are handed out Sunday night.Featured Image Credit: Netflix