It’s Netflix’s version of the “roll safe” meme: to get your movies played in a movie theater, you need to buy the theater.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the streaming service, which is currently locked in a feud with the Cannes Film Festival over day-to-date releases, has “explored the idea of buying movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York that would allow it to screen its growing pipeline of feature films and documentaries.” The company even considered making an offer for Landmark Theatres, the chain co-owned by Mark Cuban, but “recently backed off the idea.”
It might seem counterintuitive for a company with the business model of “never leave your couch” to buy movie theaters — going to the movies requires, y’know, going to the movies — but Netflix titles are excluded from theater chains, and therefore, have a harder path to winning awards. Netflix will take the popularity (even if we don’t know exactly how popular, with their infamous reluctance to release viewership data), but they also want the prestige.
Owning a theatrical outlet would give Netflix a boost for awards consideration and make it more attractive for filmmakers who still want to see their movies play on the big screen.
“It seems Netflix would like to get some of its movies for Oscar contention or other types of industry awards,” said Eric Handler, an analyst with MKM Partners who covers the major theater chains. “They’re trying to get credibility. Netflix took off when a couple of their own titles got nominated for Emmys. That lent credibility to what they’re doing. If they can do that for various awards, that might raise the platform a little bit.” (Via)
Here’s another Bright idea for Netflix: make better movies.
(Via the Los Angeles Times)