Netflix just took a step in the right direction to get in a market they haven’t ventured before, theaters. The streaming service just signed a deal with the theater chain iPic Entertainment that will give a same-day theater release to a portion of Netflix’s films, The Wall Street Journal reports. The deal includes 10 of Netflix’s upcoming movies, including The Siege of Jadotville (which will see a simultaneous release this Friday) and the Christopher Guest-directed comedy Mascots. Now iPic Entertainment isn’t your AMC or Regal theaters; they’re a small luxury theater company — WSJ says the theaters offer “lobster rolls on the menu and monogrammed blankets for certain members” — with just 15 outposts around the country.
Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos told WSJ the move was an effort to prove that its original movies are “not ‘TV movies.'” This partnership seems to be so that Netflix can show it can play with the big-time players like Sony, Disney, Universal, etc.; Once before they tried that and it didn’t go well. The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) and its president have responded to the iPic deal, warning against digital and theatrical joint releases.
“Simultaneous release, in practice, has reduced both theatrical and home revenues when it has been tried”
“Just as Netflix and its customers put a value on exclusivity, theater owners and their customers do too.”
iPic Entertainment screened Netflix’s The Little Prince in its theaters earlier this year as part of a trial run, according to WSJ. So it will be interesting to see the outcome but for cord-cutters everywhere, this is a huge step in the right direction, and hopefully, soon we’ll all be able to watch a movie in the comfort of our homes on our Android TVs with not $10 popcorn.