If there’s one thing Netflix subscribers are used to, it’s the ability to watch new movies and TV shows in their entirety as soon as they’re released (as long as it’s a Netflix Original). Unlike other studios like Universal and Amazon, Netflix doesn’t typically have a long wait between big theatrical releases and eventual streaming dates, but that could change significantly with the upcoming release of knife out 2.
Netflix films have historically received limited theatrical releases, with some even securing exclusive deals, but those windows are short, usually no longer than a few weeks. And as Bloomberg reports, Netflix has never released films about the world’s two largest cinema chains: AMC and Cineworld. If Netflix tries to compete with other film studios on a global scale, the company will have to sign a deal with these two cinema chains.
knife out 2 presents an excellent opportunity for Netflix to experiment with a different release schedule that is more akin to what Warner Bros. is doing with its streaming service HBO Max or Paramount with Paramount+, giving films an exclusive 45-day (or 30-day) theatrical run to give up to 45 in the case of Paramount) before being sent to each company’s respective streaming platform.
Netflix is considering cinema options in the face of subscriber losses
There is certainly some irony in this new situation. Netflix has long been considered the “death of cinema” in many ways. I’m sure you can remember the seemingly endless discourse in Martin Scorcese The Irishman went to the streaming service rather than secure a worldwide theatrical run.
Netflix was close to landing an exclusive deal but fell through when theaters rejected the idea of a 45-day exclusivity window. 45 days is taken for granted these days as the pandemic is radically changing the entertainment business.
Now Netflix may need movie theaters to rejuvenate its business. People thought cinemas would never recover due to the COVID-19 pandemic but like movies Spider-Man: No Way Home have proved that is not necessarily true. Several cinema chains have even attacked Netflix’s business model because they couldn’t agree on a deal with the streamer. The deal breaker often boils down to the exact time frame Netflix would allow theaters to have exclusivity.
Nevertheless, the cinemas are not yet in the black, as the saying goes. Even though tentpole franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe can get people seated, Bloomberg reports that ticket prices are still down 40%. Theaters are blaming the lack of new titles as so many are now moving to streaming.
Netflix needs to invest in marketing campaigns if they hope to get movies in theaters
In addition to having a long window of exclusivity to consider, Netflix also has to invest in marketing. As most Netflix fans know, the streaming service doesn’t invest much in marketing. They never really had to before, but now that Netflix is bleeding subscribers, they may need to reconsider their promotional efforts. There won’t be much point in sending movies to theaters unless Netflix spends some money to promote them like other studios do with their own movies.
Netflix and cinemas have been at a standoff for years, but Netflix is already changing some things, like adding an ad-supported tier and cracking down on password sharing, despite previously seeming lax in practice. Perhaps now is the right time for Netflix to enter the cinema world in a big way.
Of course there will always be risks. If people see Netflix movies in theaters, will they still watch them when they release to streaming? On the other hand, word of mouth can be a powerful tool, and those who like a movie in theaters might recommend people to watch it when it’s streamed, which could improve viewership.
We also know that people tend to watch and re-watch movies they like, and HBO Max and Disney+ don’t seem to have any trouble seeing their earlier theatrical releases once they arrive on their subsequent platforms. It’s all a gamble, but Netflix is at a point where it has to take risks or it may become a relic of the past in the ongoing streaming wars.
Why Knives Out 2 is a suitable film to test out full theatrical campaigns for Netflix films
And that brings us back to knife out 2. It’s one of Netflix’s biggest “blockbuster” films, especially since the first film did very well in theaters, grossing $311.4 million at the box office. Rian Johnson returns to direct the sequel, which boasts an impressive, star-studded cast including the likes of Daniel Craig, Ethan Hawke, Kate Hudson and Kathryn Hahn.
Netflix spent a lot money to buy them both knife out Sequels releasing them on their platform with little marketing isn’t necessarily the wisest way to leverage their investments.
Both movies could gross millions at the box office and show a significant return for Netflix. The first film was well received by fans and critics alike. With solid marketing (and hopefully some really good follow-up), there’s plenty of opportunity here for a strong financial decision and a good way for Netflix to prove it’s capable of competing in theaters.
Unless knife out then Alejandro G. Iñárritus bardo, which Netflix also recently bought, could be a good option, or maybe both films. Then there are those to come Red notice sequels that extraction Continuation and then Zack Snyder projects like rebel moon and the Army of the Dead Sequels, all of which could be excellent blockbuster popcorn movies worth seeing on the big screen.
knife out 2 and bardo expected to be released sometime this fall.