Netflix and Theater Owners Go To The Mattresses Over Scorsese's Irishman



Welcome to the frame and Stephen cliff us filling in for John horn Martin Scorsese's highly awaited mob boss drama the Irishman hits theaters today well you know what is the situation going on now for big business and the government they're trying to pull us down you might be demonstrating the failure to show appreciation seems the the Netflix film stars Robert deniro Al Pacino and Joe Pesci but seeing the three and a half hour long at beginning theater will take some effort Scorsese had hoped for a wide release but after negotiations stalled between Netflix and movie theater owners the film will only be seen in eight theaters in New York and Los Angeles before heading to the streaming service on November twenty seventh Nicole Sperling is media reporter for The New York Times covering Hollywood and streaming and she has the backstory on how things fell apart hi Nicole hi how are you Steve good good Nicole good you first please explain what theater owners were hoping for in terms of the Irishman's release I mean I think with what theater owners were hoping for was that Netflix was going to get in line and follow the rules that the traditional studios have with the theater chains and you know that is asking a lot for a company that doesn't necessarily believe in a theatrical window that is a subscriber first company that wants to make their subscribers happy by bringing them their content as soon as possible so what they wanted them to do was agreed to a seventy two day release which means that not necessarily the movie would play in theaters for seventy two days but that there would be an exclusivity period for that long before they would put it on their streaming service and that's really asking a lot for a company like Netflix I mean what ideally what Netflix like to see I mean no theatrical release at all no I mean I think Netflix is coming around to the idea of some limited theatrical release some of their consumers want to go see their movies on the big screen in a Martin scorcese gangster movie seems to fall into that category but they don't spend a lot on marketing so what happens in the traditional studio model is you have to put your movie into theaters you have to spend you know thirty five million dollars at least on a wide release to get people attention so they will know it's in theaters to go see it and then if you have to wait these seventy two to ninety days that are required by the theater chains when it does hit the next window whether that's a streaming platform or pay TV or whatever it is often times studios have to pay again to market the movie so it's really a lot of money but it also there is a requirement for Oscars is you have to have a movie in a theater for a week to be eligible that is part of the rules well after the Irishman start streaming on Netflix on November twenty seventh will there be the option for theater chains to give it a more wider release and and show it in theaters then for for those of us who may want to have that cinematic experience Netflix will keep it in theaters once it opens on their service as long as the chains want to keep it in it's just a limited number of theater chains that will play the movie the big giants AMC regal Cinemark those are the guys who are refusing to play by Netflix's rules which are much more truncated release windows and they're accustomed to Nicole Sperling is media reporter for The New York Times covering Hollywood and streaming with Irishman showing now at the Belasco in New York and the Egyptian here in Los Angeles before expanding to a handful of others what can you tell us about why those specific theaters were selected as far as the Belasco that's a Broadway theater that shows Broadway plays this is actually one of the first times that a movie is going to be debuting in that theater and it's kind of terrific in a sense that like it's a big palace in there it has a thousand seats in it it makes you feel like you're in this you know old timey kind of environment there's not a lot of single screens left in New York City so they're kind of recreating the old time Hollywood feel on that screen as for the Egyptian in Los Angeles that theater is currently owned by American Cinematheque it's a his work location but Netflix is actually in the process of trying to buy that theater it's an independent movie house they want to own it so that on week nights they can put their movies in and have a vents and do whatever they want and then on the weekends American Cinematheque would still program their films as they see fit and they're kind of retrospectives and the repertory theatre that they are well fear owners were trying to make the case to Netflix that you know if you truncate the theatrical release you're gonna lose out how much money are are are we talking about potentially well they use the departed as their example which was Scorsese's two thousand six movie and that made three hundred million dollars worldwide now the studio doesn't get all three hundred million dollars they split that evenly with the theaters and then when you add in marketing costs it goes lower than that as well but there's still a you know a significant profit that could be made it's a could be because it's also a three and a half hour movie so how many people are going to be rushing to the theater to see it I mean the film has received rapturous reviews critics are loving it so that interest to see I think is high but there's also the risk factor that's involved too and I think Netflix has been less interested in getting involved in that business because it is so risky and it's much safer to put it on your service and then a month from now tell everybody how many people and watched it right there were similar release negotiations last year over the theatrical run of another major Netflix project and that's all fine so quite owns Roma can you remind us how that agreement check out and how it may or may not have influenced how this deal over the Irishman was hammered out it was the same kind of situation where the big chains refused to play at the smaller ones the landmarks the Alamo they played the movie and for some of those theater chains the movie did really well for them and it stayed in theaters for a long time well as streaming giants become more powerful in the big budget feature film industry will movie theaters become secondary venues you know for special films well it depends on who you're talking to I mean at this moment in time Disney who is you know launching their service in two weeks is a huge proponent of the theatrical window probably most of the movies that you went and saw most of Americans when Sonya last year were Disney movies whether they came from Pixar or Lucasfilm or Marvel those are the movies that make a ton of money at the box office and they stay in theaters for a very long time so Disney is a big fan of the of the theatrical window now how that changes we'll see there also putting a lot of money behind their Disney plus service so that needs to work out really well for them as well and who knows if product will be shifting to the service and hopes to you know bolster their subscriber numbers a lot of the streamers are backed by a traditional studios so they're gonna have to figure that out as it may go forward Nicole Sperling is media reporter for The New York Times covering Hollywood hand streaming the call thanks is a is a pleasure thank you for your time I appreciate

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