According to a new report, Netflix has seriously considered buying a chain of cinemas in the US which it’s thought would provide a means for the company to give its films the cinematic releases they need in order to qualify for the most prestigious film festivals in the world.
According to the LA Times, which cites a pair of anonymous sources familiar with the plans, the firm was in talks to buy movie theatres across both Los Angeles and New York. However, the firm reportedly backed off the plans after the sale price for Landmark Theatres, the chain being considered for purchase, was deemed to be too high.
Netflix has had a tricky relationship with the world of traditional cinema. Amazon has been content to allow its films, such as Manchester by the Sea, to be released exclusively in cinemas prior to being available to stream.
Meanwhile Netflix has pursued a strict policy of making its films available to stream immediately, which has proved unpopular with cinemas, directors, and film festivals.
A controversial stance
That has led to Netflix’s films being deemed ineligible to compete at the Cannes film festival, since all contenders for prizes need to receive a theatrical release in France.
Purchasing its own cinema chain would neatly avoid such problems for Netflix in the future (albeit in the US rather than France). Netflix could not only guarantee a theatrical release, but would also get a much larger slice of the revenue from doing so.
Getting its films nominated for awards might not be especially important for getting people to watch its films (just look at the difference between the critical and audience reception for a film like Bright), but there are arguments that such awards help Netflix to attract the best talent to produce its upcoming films.
According to the rumours, Netflix’s current purchase plans might have been shelved, but we wouldn’t be surprised if similar plans re-emerged in the future for a different chain in a different country.
Would you pay to see a Netflix film in a traditional cinema? Let us know @TrustedReviews.