EntertainmentNetflix to Give 3 Award Contenders Exclusive Runs in Select Theaters

02:59  01 november  2018
02:59  01 november  2018 Source:   hollywoodreporter.com

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Netflix is reportedly considering making its Oscar- contender "Roma," from "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuaron, exclusive to theaters before it lands on the streaming service in an effort to make high-profile filmmakers happy and improve its awards chances.

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Netflix to Give 3 Award Contenders Exclusive Runs in Select Theaters

In a major break from tradition, Netflix will open three of its fall award contenders first in select cinemas — including Alfonso Cuaron's Roma — ending the streamer's long-standing insistence on making its original movies immediately available to customers.

Netflix isn't collapsing the three-month theatrical window, and it will still be impossible to book screens in most major circuits. However, offering exclusive limited runs is a significant concession on the part of Netflix, acknowledging that the cinematic experience is an important part of the ecosystem. It also signals to filmmakers and awards voters that Netflix is willing to bend.

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In what would be a break from tradition, Netflix is considering giving Alfonso Cuaron's upcoming film, 'Roma,' a brief run in theaters before debuting the high-profile film on its streaming service, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

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Roma is getting the biggest push. It will unfurl in several cinemas in Los Angeles, New York City and Mexico on Nov. 21, more than three weeks before its official Netflix debut in mid-December. It will add additional limited engagements on Nov. 29 in a smattering of top markets and London, followed by further expansion on Dec. 7. Roma is expected to be playing in a total of 20 countries once it rolls out globally on Netflix Dec. 14. No theater count has been provided, although 70mm runs are anticipated.

Netflix is booking a one-week exclusive berth in four cities for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a Western anthology from Joel and Ethan Coen and Susanne Bier's apocalyptic thriller Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock. Both films will play in a handful of theaters in L.A., N.Y, San Francisco and London.

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NetflixAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is considering giving Alfonso Cuarón's "Roma" an expanded, exclusive theatrical run before it streams on

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Buster Scruggs begins its limited theatrical run on Nov. 8 before debuting day and date on Netflix and in additional cinemas on Nov. 16.Bird Boxgoes out in theaters on Dec. 13, followed by its global opening on Netflix Dec. 21 and expanded presence in cinemas.

"Netflix's priority is our members and our filmmakers, and we are constantly innovating to serve them. Our members benefit from having the best quality films from world class filmmakers and our filmmakers benefit by being able to share their artistry with the largest possible audience in over 190 countries worldwide," Scott Stuber, head of Netflix's film group, said in a statement.

Cuaron said in his own statement, “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 theatre offers the best possible experience for Roma, it was designed to be equally meaningful when experienced in the intimacy of one’s home.”

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Netflix didn't reveal whether it would report grosses.

In August, The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report that a one- or two-week exclusive run was being considered for Roma at the insistence of Cuaron, who won the best director Oscar for his last film, Gravity (2013). Roma, a sweeping black-and-white, semi-autobiographical drama based in part of the director's childhood, has major award ambitions. Participant Media produced and financed the film.

Earlier this month, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told investors in a note that, as with its other original movies, Roma will debut day and date on its service, and in more than 100 theaters worldwide. “We believe in our member-centric simultaneous release model for our original films and welcome additional theatre chains that are open to carrying our films to provide the shared-viewing, big-screen experience to their customers who enjoy that option,” wrote Hastings, seemingly ending speculation that the acclaimed movie would become the first Netflix title to get some sort of exclusive run on the big screen.

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For years, Netflix has famously been at loggerheads with theater owners for refusing to abide by theatrical windows, saying its customers come first. As such, a majority of cinemas won't interface with the streamer. Yet having a presence in cinemas is deemed key during awards season.

Netflix has always been able to book a smattering of theaters for its original films by working with smaller independent houses, or pursuing paid partnerships with such circuits as Landmark and iPic. This fall, Netflix is working with Laemmle locations in addition to Landmark and iPic, boosting its footprint. Alamo Drafthouse could also be in the mix.

In New York and L.A., Buster Scruggs, for example, will play at Landmark locations.

Unlike the Emmys, Netflix has been largely shut out of the Oscar race on the narrative feature side, and has never picked up an Oscar nomination for best picture, best director, best actress or best actor.  Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos is intent on improving that track record, including bringing veteran awards consultant Lisa Taback in-house earlier this year.

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“These upcoming engagements are following the success of our theatrical and Netflix releases of Private Life and 22 July.  There’s been an overwhelming response to all of our films this festival season, including Outlaw King, which will be in theaters and on Netflix next week, and this plan is building on that momentum," Stuber continued in the statement regarding Roma, Buster Scruggs and Bird Box.

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Nevertheless, the presence of a Netflix film in theaters hasn't created much buzz to date, particularly since grosses aren't reported and they aren't included in box-office roundups. And the plan announced Wednesday could easily prompt other filmmakers working with Netflix, including Martin Scorsese, to ask for similar treatment.

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