Is it possible to disturb yourself? It is a question I have been thinking of very much like Netflix, hoping to correct filmmakers and get recognized recognition for them, has stumbled, reluctantly, offensive in exclusive theatrical distribution.
Film festivals and streaming company have traded barbs, Netflix has suggested cinemas to kill cinema, has pundit-dressed that the three-week "Roma" window in theaters is a game switch (a requirement that is difficult to imagine when 99.7% of screens do not play it in the United States), journalists have asked if Netflix kills independent film.
Alfonso Cuarón, backstage at the Golden Globes after receiving two awards for his fairly recognized film, understandably found the controversy frustrating.
"I [think]] the discussion between Netflix and platforms should generally be over," he said. "I think the guys, platforms and theatrics must [get] together and just realize that what they do for this discussion hurts the cinema.
" My question to you is how many theaters Did you think a Mexican movie in black and white, in Spanish and Mixteco, is a drama without stars ̵
"It wasn't a cosmetic release. … the movie opened more than a month ago and still plays. It's rare for a foreign movie. Why don't you list it foreign films this year and compares the theatrical release to these things and how long they have played. "
Mr. Cuarón's questions are good and deserve an answer, but perhaps his criteria on the first are a bit too restrictive. And I will ask a question in return: How many of these films were directed by Alfonso Cuarón?
But for his first question about the number of theaters that could see a movie like "Rome", I would suggest a proximity analogue. "Ida", directed by Poland's Pawel Pawlikowski, in Polish, shot in black and white, won the Oscar for Foreign Language Film in 2015. It was released in May 2014 and played for 53 weeks in theaters – 137 at the greatest release, comparable to "Roma "footprint – and amounted to $ 3.8 million. It had a publishing window of 130 days. It started an 18-month streaming round on Netflix in November 2014 and no doubt saw an increase in audience ratings when it won the Oscar. Of course, we can only guess it because Netflix generally does not release data.
And Mr. Pawlikowski's latest movie will serve as a partial answer to the second question regarding the length of the theater's engagement. "Cold War" was released the week after "Roma" debuted on Netflix, is now in theaters, distributed by Amazon, and is Poland's official Oscar recording for foreign language films. It is also in Polish, and again in black and white. Amazon intends to extend the release throughout the premium period and has not set a date for when it will reach Amazon's streaming service.
And that is the core of what this debate is about. Foreign films, independent films and even films with more commercial potential find it difficult to get theater runs or even made because the numbers do not point out. Netflix provides a service to the industry by purchasing or financing some films that would not otherwise be made. We welcome them. Netflix undoubtedly believes that these costs can be recovered by increasing subscribers or keeping them by satisfying them with the product flow.
Yet some of these titles are directors like Alfonso Cuarón, who are passionately interested in a theatrical race. And many exhibitors would like to give the important filmmakers a truly exclusive theater performance before their movie stream.
In the growing buzz of the Toronto International Film Festival of Netflix in view of exclusive theatrical releases to "Roma" and a few other titles, I was delighted with the opportunity to say at the festival: "The cinema door is open" to Netflix, but notes that the company needs to respect the business model under which theaters operate.
To meet the filmmakers, Netflix broke precedent and its conveyed business model to offer some of them limited exclusive races in theaters; This only two weeks after confirming in its 3rd bookbook that it was committed to simultaneously publishing its theater titles. Of course, Netflix understands that for some titles, theatrical exclusivity is beneficial. But Netflix's artificial three-week window has unnecessarily hobbled the Roman potential "Rome" and failed to attract the interest of most cinema owners.
It is important to understand why most tea makers were not interested. While studies have shown that the most active home streamers are also the most frequent movie runs, it does not mean that a simultaneous or near simultaneous release does not suppress the theatrical potential of a particular title. On the contrary, a recent Barclays study emphasizes that successful theater release enhances consumer perception of the value of a streaming title and enhances the film's long-term value. Moviegoers make their movie selections for a number of reasons: "I've already paid for it and it's in my Netflix queue" is definitely one of them. It doesn't mean they won't go to the theater; This means that they are less likely to go to the theater to see the movie . Theater owners make their booking decisions with this customer behavior in mind.
To entice some theater owners to look at the titles they buy, Netflix allegedly has "four-walled" and is rumored to let the theater's owners keep all the ticket revenue. This is very unusual: In a traditional four-wall release, the distributor retains all ticket revenue. In short, Netflix bought a theatrical release, which meant that the theatrical owner's interest limited the release, but Netflix's business model did so too. The kind of expense that Netflix has incurred for a footprint of approx. 150 screens are not sustainable to a greater extent. It is unthinkable for a movie with greater commercial potential, as Martin Scorsese's upcoming "The Irishman."
What the theater owners propose is neither radical nor unreasonable. If some of Netflix's filmmakers want a theatrical release, and Netflix wants to accommodate them – and not randomly attract other filmmakers with similar interests and pedigrees – a traditional release before going to streaming (which is of course exclusive to Netflix) can only be accretive. If Netflix thought "The Irishman" was worth reporting $ 200 million for streaming only, an exclusive and robust theater release would go straight to the bottom line.
What the theatrical release (and window) would look like would be agreed upon by Netflix, its filmmakers and theater owners. But it would be in Netflix's interest to have these discussions. The company is on the verge of seeing deep-paced rivals coming into their room who will compete for subscribers and equally important for filmmakers. Netflix content costs will increase and you may think it would include the possibility of increased cash flow.
In short, in the pursuit of prestigious films and filmmakers, Netflix has had to turn to the theatrical space it has too often mitigated. The way in which Netflix can take advantage of the opportunities offered there is clear to everyone and everyone can come to a winner. The theater door remains open.
John Fithian is President and CEO of National Assn. of theater owners.