In a move that will certainly many in Hollywood happy, Netflix officially commits to put several of their awards-contending films into theaters. Among the first batch to receive a true theatrical run will be “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (Nov. 8), “Roma” (Nov. 21) and “Bird Box” (Dec. 14). In the case of “Roma,” the film will receive a multi-week theatrical run, expanding outside of New York and Los Angeles until it goes to the streaming service on December 14.
Deadline reports the move does not have the singular focus of strengthening “Roma” as it runs for Best Picture. Looking ahead, the studio will need to use this system for other potential contenders. “The Irishman,” “The Laundromat” and “The Last Thing He Wanted” all feel like players in next year’s Oscars. While the timing helps out “Roma,” this path has felt necessary for the streaming service. The question for some films, especially their 2019 blockbuster slate, will be whether or not Netflix begins to put the higher budget films into theaters as well. “Mowgli,” “6 Underground” and more feel like good bets to make some extra money for the service. The choice will likely empower auteur filmmakers to keep bringing projects to Netflix as well.
Alfonso Cuarón commented:
“Seeing ‘Roma’ on the big screen is just as important as ensuring people all over the world have the chance to experience it in their homes. ‘Roma’ was photographed in expansive 65mm, complemented by a very complex Atmos sound mix. While a movie theater offers the best possible experience for ‘Roma,’ it was designed to be equally meaningful when experienced in the intimacy of one’s home.”
It is clear that Cuarón has been a major influence in this decision for Netflix. Hopefully, they see the benefits quickly.