Netflix Left $3.6 Billion at the Theatrical Box Office in 2019

Beginning in late 2018 through this year, Netflix has redoubled efforts to produce original feature-length movies in addition to episodic TV series.

At the same time, the SVOD pioneer continues to throw a curve ball into traditional theatrical distribution by largely eschewing exhibitor releases in favor of worldwide streaming access.

The result is friction from theater operators, industry awards groups and a significant hit to the fiscal bottom line.

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Netflix said its most-popular original movies from October 2018 through September 2019 included Bird Box (80 million views), Murder Mystery (73 million), Triple Frontier (52 million), The Perfect Date (48 million) and Tall Girl (41 million).

The streamer said movies such as Fyre, Otherhood, Always Be My Maybe, Secret Obsession and The Highwaymen generated more than 20 million views each within four weeks of release. The list excludes El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (25 million) and The Irishman (40 million).

While 72% of Netflix households have more than one user on the account, when factoring just one view per subscription, the aforementioned movies generated about 394 million views. Netflix ended Q3 with 158 million subscribers worldwide.

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Multiplying the views by $9.11, the average cost of a theatrical movie ticket in 2018, suggests Netflix conservatively left more than $3.58 billion in ticket sales on the table over a film’s initial 30-day period.

That’s just slightly less than Netflix’s entire third-quarter 2018 revenue of $3.9 billion.

While it can be argued that streaming a movie for “free” is more likely an option for consumers than leaving the house and buying a ticket for a non-Marvel release at a cineplex, the data underscores users’ willingness to devote a significant time allotment for video content.

“The thing that’s amazing about that is … think of everything those people could be doing on those screens, and they chose a [Netflix] film,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at the streamer, told an industry gathering earlier this month.

Sarandos was talking about The Irishman, Netflix’s 3-and-a-half-hour big-budget gangster movie from director Martin Scorsese that has multiple Golden Globe nominations. “Consumers understand the value of proposition of new movie watching, compared with TV series,” he said.

Scorsese’s most-recent theatrical release, 2016’s Silence, earned just $23.7 million at the global box office against an estimated budget of more than $40 million. But before that, 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street earned $392 million at the worldwide box office, 2011’s Hugo earned $186 million, 2010’s Shutter Island earned $294 million, and 2006’s The Departed generated $291 million. With The Irishman touting a typical Scorsese cast: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, it’s not unreasonable the film would have attracted moviegoers.

Irishman was released in select indie theaters to be considered for industry awards, including the Oscars.

The Irishman lost a lot of box office,” Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, said in an interview. “A Scorsese released properly in cinemas would have generated a nice income.”

Indeed, Netflix hasn’t been shy seeking third-party funding for its content aspirations. In October the platform sold more than $2 billion in long-term debt (bonds) in the U.S. and Europe to buttress original content production in response to growing third-party competition, including Disney+.

Sarandos: 40 Million Households to Stream ‘The Irishman’

Netflix’s big-budget mobster movie The Irishman is projected to be streamed in 40 million households through its first 28 days of release.

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at the SVOD behemoth, disclosed the data during a Dec. 10 presentation at the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York City.

Sarandos said 26.4 million households watched at least 70% of the lengthy (3.5 hours) movie from director Martin Scorsese — a tally he said does not take into account multiple people watching simultaneously under one roof.

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Indeed, Sarandos seemed to imply anyone watching the movie in its entirety should be applauded.

“The thing that’s amazing about that is … think of everything those people could be doing on those screens, and they chose a film,” Sarandos said.

The Irishman generated multiple Golden Globe nominations, with Sarandos characterizing Netflix’s record nomination indicative the streamer’s “mark of quality.”

“Consumers understand the value of proposition of new movie watching, compared with TV series,” he said.

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Netflix’s ‘Irishman’ Skipping Major Theatrical Run

Netflix’s big budget original movie The Irishman reportedly will not have a major theatrical run upon its November release.

The Martin Scorsese-directed gangster movie features multiple Oscar winners, including Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, among others.

Netflix is eyeing the film for major industry awards, which require a theatrical screening to be considered for nomination.

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The SVOD pioneer continues to maintain a business model that makes original movies available for streaming concurrent with any theatrical run.

To abide by the rules, Netflix has offered The Irishman to theaters for an exclusive 27-day window ahead of streaming, beginning Nov. 1.

But major chains such as AMC, Regal and Landmark insist they have exclusive rights to any theatrical release for 90 days.

As a result, Netflix will screen the film at select indie theaters nationwide — a path the service took when debuting  last year’s Oscar-winning movie Roma from director Alfonso Cuaron.

 

Netflix’s ‘The Irishman’ Gets Global Debut at London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival scored a coup of sorts Aug. 5 when it announced that the upcoming 63rd edition would play host to the global debut of Netflix original feature film The Irishman from director Martin Scorsese.

Netflix — contrary to the SVOD’s feature-film policy releasing titles in theaters and streaming concurrently — is rolling out the mega-budget movie in select theaters first to appease industry awards such as the Academy Awards as well as Oscar-winner Scorsese.

Irishman, which will be screened Oct. 13 at the festival’s “Closing Night Gala,” stars Academy Award winners Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, among others.

The screening apparently precedes a previously-announced Irishman debut at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 14.

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Netflix has not yet announced the streaming release for the film.

The BFI London Film Festival also announced that there would be simultaneous preview screenings taking place at cinemas across the UK.

Re-uniting Scorsese with his Gangs of New York screenwriter Steve Zaillian, who adapted from Charles Brandt’s novel I Heard You Paint Houses, The Irishman examines the influence of organized crime in post-war America.

The story is told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th Century.

Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of infamous Union President Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.

“I’m extremely honored to be having the International Premiere of The Irishman at the closing night of the BFI London Film Festival,” Scorsese said in a statement. “This picture was many years in the making. It’s a project that Robert De Niro and I started talking about a long time ago, and we wanted to make it the way it needed to be made. It’s also a picture that all of us could only have made at this point in our lives.”

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director hailed Scorsese as “one of the true greats of cinema” as both a creator and champion of film preservation and history.

“This is a major occasion for film lovers and I cannot wait to share this film with U.K.,” Tuttle said.

Netflix Releases ‘The Irishman’ Movie Trailer

Netflix July 31 released the official movie trailer for its much-hyped mob feature film The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring fellow Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino, among others.

The period drama, which will debut at the upcoming New York Film Festival, boasts Netflix’s willingness to spend big (reported $160 million budget) and initially release the movie theatrically (ahead of streaming) to appease industry award guidelines.

The plot centers around World War II veteran and mob hitman Frank Sheeran (De Niro) and his relationship with former labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975 and was declared dead in absentia in 1982.

When the movie, which also features Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin and Ray Romano, will be released at the box office has not been disclosed.

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