Netflix might relax a policy that has caused its biggest fights with movie theatres

  • According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is considering giving Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” an expanded, exclusive theatrical run before it streams on Netflix.
  • This would be a sharp pivot from its original plans, which were to release the movie on Netflix as well as in select theatres on the same day (known as “day and date”).
  • That’s been Netflix’s usual policy, which hasn’t landed it in the good graces of theatre chains.
  • But Cuarón reportedly wants an expanded theatrical run for the movie, and Netflix wants to make its high-profile filmmakers happy while improving its awards chances.

Netflix might be softening its stance in its biggest fight with movie theatres.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is considering giving “Roma,” the Alfonso Cuarón-directed Oscar contender, an exclusive theatrical run before premiering it on the service for streaming. This would be a sharp pivot from its original plans, which were to make it available to stream the same day it ran in select theatres (called “day and date”).

In fact, that’s been Netflix’s usual policy, which has never landed the company in the good graces of theatrical chains. Because of this policy, most major theatre chains have refused to play Netflix movies. That stands in contrast to competitor Amazon, which gives its original movies exclusive theatrical runs before streaming (and has reaped the rewards at the Oscars).

Anonymous sources told THR that Netflix film chief Scott Stuber is pushing head of content Ted Sarandos to give the movie, and others from high-profile filmmakers, an extended theatrical run prior to its debut on Netflix in order to improve Netflix’s awards-season chances and make those filmmakers happy.

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider and declined to comment to THR.

Netflix once flirted with the idea of buying Landmark Theatres in order to guarantee its movies play in theatres, but ultimately passed on the chance. And Business Insider reported in April that Netflix had rejected offers to play its films at some arthouse theatres, possibly out of fear of underperforming.

Netflix’s lack of theatrical distribution has been a headache for the company. Earlier this year, Netflix pulled out of the Cannes Film Festival after a new rule disqualified any film without a theatrical distribution in France.

Netflix has been attracting top talent in the industry to boost its profile. Along with Cuarón and Greengrass, Netflix is premiering movies from the Coen Brothers and more at the Venice Film Festival, which began on Wednesday. But now it needs to keep them happy.

“Roma” does not have a release date yet, but was expected to arrive on Netflix and in select theatres later this year. Netflix’s official description of the movie is, “A story that chronicles a tumultuous year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s.”

Learn details about Netflix’s other movies that are premiering at Venice here.

Watch the “Roma” trailer below:

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