Will Rival Chains show its films? – The Hollywood journalist


Netflix is ​​no longer the No. 1 public enemy in the eyes of at least one mega-theatrical circuit: Cinemark. On November 12, without revealing the actual numbers, the exhibitor gushed in a press release that Red Notice is the most successful Netflix title he has ever produced.

Before the pandemic, Cinemark, like the big rival movie theater chain with AMC Entertainment and Regal Cinemas, largely snubbed Netflix titles because the streamer would not meet a 90-day cinema window. This meant that Netflix had to rely on a patchwork of 150-300 independent theaters to stream its films and prove to the talent that it cared about the theatrical experience.

The protracted COVID-19 pandemic has turned traditional windows upside down. On November 5, Netflix was able to book Red Notice – an action comedy starring Dwayne Johnson opposite Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot and billed as the most expensive movie Netflix has ever made at a price of over $ 200 million – in 750 theaters nationwide a week before its launch on the streamer. It is not a symbolic liberation.

This strategy, which began in earnest over the summer when Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead played in 650 theaters, wouldn’t be possible without Cinemark, one of the country’s three biggest chains. The main regional circuits Marcus Theaters and Harkins Theaters also play ball. Johnson, whose company Seven Bucks produced the film, can boast that the film had the biggest theatrical release in Netflix history.

“We love when we have the opportunity to create a cultural moment and a full entertainment experience around a movie,” Wanda Gierhart Fearing, director of marketing and content for Cinemark, said in the company statement. “Over the past year, Cinemark has released over 10 Netflix movies in our immersive environment, and we look forward to testing financially viable models for both parties who have an exclusive cinema window to make key films. “

Netflix is ​​not saying if this strategy will continue for its other commercial-oriented original films (Shawn Levy’s upcoming film The Adam project, starring Reynolds, comes to mind) and pointed out that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. In total, it releases around 30 films a year in theaters at a time when small independent theaters are struggling (and that was before the ravages of COVID-19). Box office analysts are also more optimistic about Netflix’s impact on cinema. “I thank Netflix for giving moviegoers a reason to get up off the couch and go to the movies,” said Steve Buck, box office analyst at analytics firm EntTelligence.

It’s also no surprise that studio executives are no longer so antagonistic. “I do not reproach exhibitors for playing Red Notice“Says a studio director. All major Hollywood studios except Sony are experimenting with simultaneous home releases via their respective streaming services or early releasing premium video on demand movies.

While the issue of shortened windows is no longer so taboo, incurring substantial marketing expenses is key for many channels when it comes to a title getting a hybrid version. Sources say AMC and Regal – both of whom declined to comment – would not play Red Notice partly because of it. Netflix certainly advertised Red Notice, but it wasn’t the same kind of theatrical marketing campaign that Warner Bros., for example, is running for its 2021 roster, which debuts simultaneously on the big screen and HBO Max, or Disney with the titles Disney + or Paramount with the recent hybrid version Clifford the big red dog.

“I predict that if Netflix spends more on marketing, Regal and AMC will also release their movies,” an industry source said.

Red Notice is fast becoming one of the most-watched Netflix original movies of all time, according to a new measurement system unveiled on November 16. The new weekly Netflix movie and TV ranking is based on the total number of hours watched for a given title rather than the previous standard of a two-minute sample.

Red Notice was viewed 148 million hours in its first three days alone. According to the new metrics, the star of Sandra Bullock Bird box topped the list of the 10 most watched Netflix movies of all time (with 282 million hours), followed by Extraction (231 million), Irish (215 minutes) and The kissing booth 2 (209 million).

While Netflix is ​​providing more audience data than before, it still won’t bring in box office revenue. Apple TV + also doesn’t make box office revenue for the movies it plays in certain theaters. Amazon Studios hasn’t reported numbers in the past, but some of its titles have now.

Box office insiders believe that Red Notice has earned between $ 2 million and $ 3 million as of November 17, but there’s no way to be sure. That would normally be considered a pittance for a movie starring three of the world’s biggest stars, but ticket sales aren’t Netflix’s business model – subscribers are.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense for Netflix to bring back the fat ones. I think it’s still a test. If it was a full-scale national release, the situation might be different,” says Eric. Handler, Wall Street analyst, who tracks the exhibitions business at MKM Partners. “For Cinemark, they get a movie with big name stars who should do better than anything they could put on their eighth screen in a movie theater in eight screens, even with limited advertising. “

Buck adds, “I give exposure credit during the pandemic for experimenting. Raw reporting is not Netflix’s goal. The NFL and UFC also don’t disclose big money when they show their games in theaters.

Source: Cinemark earnings

This story first appeared in the November 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.


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