AMC Theatres has reached its first-ever agreement with Netflix to play a Netflix movie theatrically. From November 23-29, AMC moviegoers can enjoy Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery at more than 200 locations throughout the United States. It will also play at select Odeon Cinema Group’s locations in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
Netflix has reached an historic deal with the top three French cinema guilds that will see the company investing at least €40 million ($45 million) in at least 10 French and European films over the next three years, all of which will get theatrical releases in France.
The entertainment company Hollywood Innovations Group has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Central District of California alleging that Netflix willfully violated the same copyright laws it routinely enforces against its own competitors. The also illustrates the power of new dubbing technologies to seamlessly adapt video content across dozens of languages. The technology helps expose broader audiences to global content, but Netflix has quickly found a way to leverage it to capture the lucrative and highly competitive Asian market.
In a move that may offer some clues regarding the ways that exhibitors and streaming companies can work together effectively, Cinemark announced today that it will be showing Netflix’s Army of the Dead in both Cinemark XD and digital cinema auditoriums across its domestic circuit beginning May 14. Tickets are on sale now at Cinemark.com and on the Cinemark mobile app to watch the much-anticipated Zack Snyder film in theatres before it is available on Netflix on May 21.
Am I alone in thinking that filmmakers and exhibitors have embraced the digital cinema transition with more enthusiasm, creativity and intelligence than the Hollywood studios? Given that Hollywood started the drive to digital, that would be incredibly ironic. I ask this because, last week in Vanity Fair, Nicole Sperling wrote a fascinating article about the current debate apparently raging in Hollywood over the question: what is a movie? But the article raised a different question for me: in the second decade of the digital cinema era, what is a movie theatre?
From the earliest days of feature length films until the 1980s, the movie going experience typically happened in a very large theatre with a really big screen. Faced with rising costs and increasing competition from television, exhibitors of that sad era cut their buildings into multi-screen complexes to increase ticket sales and maximize profits on concessions. Today, faced with a different set of economic realities, exhibitors around the world are increasingly responding by creating movie palaces that rival all but the most spectacular theatres of the turn of the last century. One trend at this year’s CinemaCon, which wrapped up last week, was the continuing rise of premium large format theatres. Another trend was the almost comical trashing of Netflix. PLF theatres and Netflix are both here to stay; we’ve been here before
Netflix this week committed to streaming its movies in both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision high-dynamic range formats. It is the first global on-demand service to commit to combining both formats. Okja, the critically praised Netflix Original Film, is the first film available in both formats. Additional Dolby-supported titles are coming soon, and the catalog will continue to grow. Okja will be released to select movie theatres this week as well. Netflix has raised the stakes again.
Let’s be clear about one thing: there is no such thing as alternative content. People do not leave the comfort of their homes to pay twenty dollars and more to sit in a movie theatre to watch something inferior or alternative. They gladly pay higher ticket prices because they enjoy events targeted at their specific interests. For big screens, great sound and comfortable reclining seats in a room with like-minded people. For the shared experiences of opera, theatre, concerts, sports, and more: a wide and growing range of programs. These aren’t alternatives to anything; these are events that, until only recently, people could never see this way. And let’s be clear about one more thing: Netflix will play a major roll in the future of event cinema.