As of last week, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, which might have been a huge hit with a traditional rollout, has grossed an estimated $2.4 million at the domestic box office. It’s probably not going to make a lot more than that, not with the film coming to Netflix on November 27. There are two ways of looking at this. Glass half full: it’s good that The Irishman, a terrific film, will be available for anyone with access to a Netflix account, which is basically everyone. Glass half empty: it’s a movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen, even with the three-and-a-half-hour running time, and it’s a shame that it’s only playing in a few hundred theaters. Rian Johnson wants it playing everywhere.
While speaking to IndieWire, The Last Jedi director, who has his own movie coming out soon (Knives Out, also terrific), thinks that it’s “great that some people can see The Irishman in the theater,” but “it’s a tragedy that more people can’t.” Scorsese’s vision, about what happens when goodfellas become old fellas, isn’t nearly as effective viewed on a phone while you’re on the bus to work. Johnson admits that he’s “conflicted,” but ultimately, he appreciates that Netflix is still making movies like The Irishman.
“Obviously, these movies are getting made because Netflix is stepping up to the plate and making them. We would not have a three-and-a-half hour movie that does what The Irishman does, that has that luxury, without Netflix taking a big swing. Now that Netflix is producing important movies with great directors, it’s just pushing the issue more and more. I’m happy Netflix is doing what they’re doing.” (Via)
The Irishman this, The Irishman that. But where’s the outrage over the equally important A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby not playing in 4,000 theaters?