Netflix is having a tough time releasing The Irishman into certain theatres

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There was a time where if you missed a movie’s theatrical release, you often had to wait several months before it would eventually make its way to a nearby video store. And if you wanted to watch it on TV, then you would probably have to wait more than a year and then it was only paid channels like our own M-Net that could afford to air a movie so “soon” after its video release.

These days, thanks to the fact that most big studios have their own networks or streaming services, it can be just a matter of weeks before a big-screen move finds its way onto our TV screens. Something which seems to hamper Netflix’s theatrical release for its upcoming Martin Scorsese epic The Irishman.

Deadline reports that many major theatre chains in the US are refusing to screen the movie because it will be released on Netflix only 3 weeks later and they don’t feel it is profitable for them to screen a movie for such a short time, as most people will probably wait for it to make its way to Netflix anyway. As a result, Netflix is making plans to show the movie in Broadway in New York while according to Variety, also working with smaller indie-friendly theatres to get the movie out to the country before its small-screen debut.

Typically, most of the big theatres prefer a 90-day window before a movie can be released to a network, as this ensures that have a monopoly on the movie viewing and allowing them to maximise their profits, especially considering that the studio takes most of the proceeds in the first few weeks of release before they to take a higher percentage of the proceeds. The 3-and-a-half-hour run-time probably doesn’t help either.

For Netflix, it’s important to release the movie theatrically to ensure the film gets awards recognition, though given the money on offer at the Box Office were probably hoping to recoup some of the film’s expensive budget through its box office receipts. If the company may want to consider altering this strategy for big films with box office potential and allowing for longer release periods at the theatres or perhaps incentivize theatres by providing a large share of the revenue to them.

It’s debatable I guess if they should even try to cater to theatres when some people may even view going to a big theatre as an ageing trend. Personally, I hope not as there is a certain joy in watching some movies on as big a screen as possible. I do also feel though that our entertainment needs are evolving and the number of movies that we can see making its way to the box office could be reducing. Who knows, maybe in 1 0years timer we will tell our kids about how we used to go to big dark rooms to watch movies as they look on in disbelief.

Last Updated: October 8, 2019

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