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Netflix Boss Comments Blind Theater Owners – The Hollywood Reporter

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Just as relations between Netflix and moviegoers improve, knives are sharpened again.

The nation’s biggest movie circuits went blind on October 18 when Netflix co-chief and chief content officer Ted Sarandos threw cold water at the importance of an unprecedented deal to play Rian Johnson’s. Glass Onion: Solves a Knife Mystery The sequel is out for a week over Thanksgiving before hitting the publisher a month later.

“There’s always all kinds of arguments back and forth. But there is no doubt that we make our movies for our members, and we really want them to see them on Netflix,” Sarandos said in an earnings call. “Most people watch movies at home.”

Such messages do not make theater owners happy as they continue to recover from the pandemic.

And Sarandos’s comments seem to contradict what Netflix film chief Scott Stuber and distribution executive Spencer Klein said before agreeing to play a Netflix movie for the first time — the nation’s top circuits — AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark Theatres. (Cinemark started moving some of the publisher’s releases during the pandemic.)

Multiple sources describe THR He glass bulb It was described as the first of several real tests that sought to determine what kind of financial downturn a run in theaters could create for Netflix and what impact it would have on subscriber numbers in either direction. At the same time, Sarandos nevertheless glass bulbor book the movie in more than 600 cinemas. The current number is approximately 641, including at least 215 AMC locations. Sources say Stuber wants a wider break.

Access to Netflix movies was welcome news for attendees, as Hollywood studios grappled with supply chain issues and needed the product.

“This announcement of our first deal with Netflix is ​​important to AMC and movie lovers around the world. As we often say, we believe that both theatrical performers and broadcasters can continue to coexist successfully,” Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, said on Oct. glass bulb deal announced. “Beyond that, our desire was for us to find a way to crack the code and work together synergistically.”

According to sources, AMC is among the tracks that were disappointed by Sarandos’ words. AMC denied the comment.

“Ted is stepping back in big time and undermining his own team,” says one exhibition manager. And if a marketing executive doesn’t really care about the theatrical impact, he questions why the publisher chose the high-profile Thanksgiving weekend. It could easily be unlocked in early December to qualify for rewards.

Netflix officially bills theater troop Glass Onion: Solves a Knife Mystery as a sneak preview (Netflix earned $469 million for the sequel and a trio). Gross will not be reported, but numbers have to come out.

while glass bulb the deal made headlines, less attention was paid to the second theatrical test: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s bardo, will premiere widely in Mexican theaters on October 27, before making its Netflix debut on December 16. This is a 50-day movie period that Netflix has never considered before. A third test is in preparation, but sources within the exhibition community do not say what that film is.

Cinema owners weren’t the only ones who were surprised by Sarandos’ comments that downplayed the theatrical importance. A large cast of top filmmakers, Iiñárritu and glass bulbJohnson – together Knives Out franchise star Daniel Craig – seeks a big screen presence.

The exhibition industry argues that a run through the movie theaters can really boost home viewings by making a movie part of the cultural spirit of the time – and many Hollywood studios agree. Unlike Netflix’s TV series, original movies have historically had a harder time turning into proverbs of water cooler conversations.

In his statements regarding the earnings call, Sarandos said: glass bulbA weekly screening in theaters for a film festival screening or an award qualifying run for sound creation for the premiere of a film in service.

He responds to a senior studio executive: “A hornet’s nest has been scrambled and it has been proven that Netflix is ​​nothing more than a Trojan horse that cares less about the exhibit.”

Other observers point out that Netflix risks reducing its reassurances to movie theater owners.

“Big players on both the big-screen and small-screen side of the industry should walk that narrative path if they want to talk about how these very different platforms are complementary and not antagonistic,” Comscore says. chief box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian. This synergetic alliance can only exist in an environment of cooperation and respect.”