Will Rival Chains Carry Its Movies? – The Hollywood Reporter

Netflix is ​​no longer public enemy number one in the eyes of at least one mega-cinema circuit: Cinemark. On November 12, without disclosing actual figures, the exhibitor joked in a press release that Red notice It is the most successful Netflix title it has ever had.

Before the pandemic, Cinemark, like cinema chain’s main rivals AMC Entertainment and Regal Cinemas, largely rejected Netflix titles as the streamer would not meet a 90-day theatrical window. That meant Netflix had to rely on a patchwork of 150 to 300 independent theaters to play its movies and show talent that it cares about the theatrical experience.

The widespread COVID-19 pandemic has turned traditional windows upside down. On November 5, Netflix was able to reserve Red notice – an action comedy starring Dwayne Johnson alongside Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot and billed as the most expensive movie Netflix has made with a price tag of more than $ 200 million, in 750 theaters nationwide a week before its release launch on the streamer. That is not a symbolic launch.

This strategy, which began in earnest during the summer when Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead screened in 650 theaters, would not be possible without Cinemark, one of the three largest networks in the country. Major regional circuits Marcus Theaters and Harkins Theaters are also playing ball. Johnson, whose company Seven Bucks produced the film, boasts that the film has garnered the widest theatrical release in Netflix history.

“We love it when we have the opportunity to create a cultural moment and a comprehensive entertainment experience around a film,” Cinemark’s director of marketing and content, Wanda Gierhart Fearing, said in the company statement. “In the past year, Cinemark has shown more than 10 Netflix movies in our immersive environment, and we look forward to testing financially viable win-win models that have a unique theater window to eventualize key movies.”

Netflix is ​​not saying whether this strategy will continue for its other commercially minded original films (the upcoming Shawn Levy film The Adam Project, starring Reynolds, comes to mind) and has pointed out that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. In total, it releases about 30 movies a year in theaters at a time when smaller 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 theater. “I credit Netflix for giving viewers a reason to get off the couch and go to the movies,” says box office analyst Steve Buck of analytics firm EntTelligence.

It’s also no surprise that studio executives are no longer so antagonistic. “I don’t envy the exhibitors for playing Red notice”Says a studio executive. All the big Hollywood studios except Sony are experimenting with simultaneous home releases via their respective streaming services or by releasing movies from scratch in premium video on demand.

While the issue of shrinking windows is no longer taboo, committing to substantial marketing spend is key for many networks when it comes to getting a title to get a hybrid release. Sources say AMC and Regal, who declined to comment, would not play Red notice partly because of this. Netflix certainly announced Red noticeBut there wasn’t the same kind of theatrical marketing campaign that Warner Bros., for example, is running for its 2021 list, which is debuting simultaneously on the big screen and on HBO Max, or Disney with Disney + titles. o Paramount with the recent hybrid launch Clifford the big red dog.

“I predict that if Netflix spends more on marketing, Regal and AMC will sell their movies as well,” says an industry source.

Red notice is on its way to becoming one of the most-watched Netflix original movies of all time, according to a new metric unveiled Nov. 16. Netflix’s new weekly movie and TV series rating is based on the total number of hours viewed by a given title rather than the old standard of a two-minute sample.

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

While Netflix provides more viewership data than before, it is not yet reporting gross box office revenue. Apple TV + also does not report gross box office revenue for movies it shows in select theaters. Amazon Studios did not report numbers in the past, but now it does for some of its titles.

Connoisseurs of the box office believe that Red notice he’s made $ 2 million to $ 3 million as of Nov. 17, but there’s no way to be sure. That would normally be considered a negligible amount for a movie with three of the biggest stars in the world, but ticket sales are not Netflix’s business model, but subscribers.

“It doesn’t make much sense for Netflix to report gross revenue. I think it is still a test. If it were a broad national statement, the situation could be different, ”says Wall Street analyst Eric Handler, who tracks the exhibition industry at MKM Partners. “For Cinemark, they get a movie with some big-name stars that should perform better than anything else they could put on their eighth screen in an eight-screen theater, even with limited advertising.”

Buck adds: “I credit the exhibit during the pandemic for experimenting. Reporting gross income is not Netflix’s goal. The NFL and UFC also do not disclose earnings when they show their games in theaters. “

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Source: Cinemark Earnings

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

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