The leading theater chains may stop attacking Netflix
For one week in November, you can see Glass Onion in cinemas (at AMC, Regal, and Cinemark) as Netflix’s follow-up to the 2019 murder mystery Knives Out. It is the “first-ever Netflix picture to debut across all three major U.S. cinema chains,” the service boasted.
After years of conflict, this was a massive step for Netflix and the film industry. The argument stemmed from a disagreement about the length of time a film must be shown in theaters before it can be purchased for home viewing. Movies had a customary exclusivity period of about three months in theaters, but Netflix wanted to make their originals available to subscribers earlier than that. The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorsese and set to premiere on Netflix in 2019, was reportedly offered a theatrical run of 45 days before its streaming launch. However, this was deemed insufficient by the film industry.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has already changed the industry to the point where a 45-day window is now standard, and big chains are even prepared to stock movies that are released simultaneously on streaming services and in cinemas. Glass Onion will premiere in theaters the week of Thanksgiving (Nov. 23-29) before making its way to Netflix a month later (Dec. 23).
The film will only be shown in 600 cinemas for a week, significantly less than the thousands of theaters where most blockbusters are shown. Even so, there’s a greater possibility than ever that one of Netflix’s original films will be playing in a cinema near you in the future.