Soon, if you want to catch the latest Netflix original film, you might have to get in line at your local box office.
The streaming giant plans to launch three original films this fall in some theaters before the movies begin streaming, The New York Times reports. Roma, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and Bird Box will play theatrically for between one and three weeks before being released online for subscribers. Roma is a major Oscar contender, with some critics seeing it as a Best Picture frontrunner.
Netflix has released its movies in theaters before, but the films would always open the same day they began streaming online. The company had frowned upon the idea of having any sort of exclusivity window with theaters; a few weeks ago it even touted a "member-centric simultaneous release model." But this has changed, seemingly in a bid to curry favor with old-fashioned Oscar voters, Deadline reports.
Once the one- to three-week window is over, the movies can remain in theaters, but will also be made available for streaming. This time frame is nowhere near the three-month exclusivity window chains like AMC demand to run a movie, so maybe don't expect to see these films at the major multiplexes. But as Netflix begins to produce higher and higher quality movies from the best filmmakers in the business and guns for a Best Picture prize, it apparently sees some theatrical exclusivity, however minimal, as a necessary evil. Brendan Morrow