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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Netflix Reportedly Eyeing Content Budget Restraint

With Netflix’s fiscal second-quarter ended June 30, the SVOD pioneer reportedly is re-evaluating its prolific content spending.

The service, which ended Q1 with $18.9 billion in third-party content obligations, spent more than $12 billion on original content in 2018 — a fiscal largess senior management is now scrutinizing.

CCO Ted Sarandos in June reportedly held a meeting with mid-level managers with a revised mandate that spending on original content should be commensurate with viewership — especially among new subscribers and long-time inactive members, according to The Information, which cited people at the meeting.

Netflix heretofore has eschewed spending restraint in favor of content’s social media buzz and establishing industry legitimacy.

“They are the leading game in town and were probably overspending relative to what they need,” analyst Michael Nathanson with MoffettNathanson told the website. “Now that they are in a strong position, they probably want to allocate more of that spending overseas.”

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The service in recent years has blown up industry norms outspending/bidding over-the-top competitors and traditional pay-TV players for content and exclusive license agreements.

With domestic sub growth maturing and a bevy of pending OTT video services launching from deep-pocket competitors such as Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia and NBC Universal, among others, Netflix now wants original programming to pay for itself — a challenge for a business model that shuns advertising, the theatrical window and transactional VOD.

Sarandos, according to The Information, was at odds with the reported $115 million spent on Triple Frontier, the original action movie with Ben Affleck and Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”) that apparently didn’t resonate with subscribers — or the service’s bottom line.

In fiscal 2018, Netflix generated negative cash flow of $3 billion on revenue of $16 billion — a figure projected to increase to $3.5 billion in fiscal 2019 — much of it due to content spending.

“There’s been no change to our content budgets, nor any big shifts in the sorts of projects we’re investing in, or the way we greenlight them,” said a Netflix spokesperson.

Meanwhile, pending original movie The Irishman, from director Martin Scorsese has a reported budget of $150 million. With Netflix eyeing the mob thriller for next year’s industry awards, the service will have to compromise on its concurrent theatrical/streaming release mandate, says Michael Pachter with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

“We expect Netflix and exhibitors to reach an accommodation where there will be a shortened window in exchange for lower film rent,” Pachter wrote in a July 1 note.

A typical film earns 83% of its box office within four weeks, and 96% within 60 days, which Pachter believes could soften exhibitors’ revenue loss to around 3% as the result of a shortened theatrical window to appease Netflix’s business model.

“We think that if studios or platforms like Netflix are willing to trade film rent for an earlier window, the negative impact on exhibition would be limited particularly for films well-suited for the big screen,” Pachter wrote. “The Irishman may fit the bill.”

Netflix reports Q2 fiscal results July 17.

Report: Netflix Movies Skipping Cannes Film Festival

Netflix reportedly won’t have any film entries in the 2019 Cannes Film Festival May 14-25 in Cannes, France, despite efforts by the subscription streaming video pioneer and event organizers to hammer out a truce in their ongoing theatrical window feud.

Netflix executives Ted Sarandos and Scott Stuber apparently found no compromise after recently meeting with Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux in Los Angeles regarding the SVOD service’s insistence on streaming its original movies day-and-date with any theatrical release, according to Variety — which cited a source familiar with the situation.

The standoff last year resulted in Netflix bypassing Cannes and submitting original movie Roma to the Venice Film Festival where it won the top Golden Lion award.

While industry politics generate the headlines, Variety reports that Netflix didn’t have a movie ready for the March 11 deadline for official feature length film submissions to the 72nd Cannes Festival.

Fremaux apparently had hopes for Netflix mob movie,The Irishman, from director Martin Scorsese, being submitted to the competition. Regardless, Netflix reps will be at Cannes scouting out indie content to acquire.

Separately, actor Kevin Costner, whose next film, The Highwaymen, begins streaming on Netflix March 29, believes movies should have a theatrical release if possible.

“I think movies are for theaters, and as long as they can stay in them,” Costner said at last week’s SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

The actor said over-the-top video represents a new way for people to consume movies and distribution channel for the industry to fight over.

“The sand shifting, I haven’t thought about that as much as I’ve thought about the next movie I’m gonna do, or the next story I’m gonna write,” Costner said.

Netflix: Sunday Viewing Down 32% Due to Super Bowl

Netflix often says major televised events such as the Olympics and soccer World Cup negatively impact streaming viewership. On Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3), the SVOD pioneer confirmed that nationwide viewership on the platform was down 32% compared to a normal Sunday.

“So apparently this Super Bowl thing is kind of big deal,” Netflix tweeted.

Resolute in a programming strategy that eschews live sports, Netflix spent the afternoon poking fun at the Super Bowl while also using the largest one-day televised event of the year to market “Our Planet,” the upcoming original documentary on natural habitats narrated by David Attenborough. All episodes will be released on April 5.

Amazon Prime Video and Hulu bowed trailers for original dramas “Hanna” and the third season of Emmy-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” respectively.

“Someone actually scored a touchdown!?!?!” Netflix tweeted after New England Patriots rookie running back Sony Michel scored the game’s only touchdown, breaking a 3-3 tie in the fourth quarter.

The Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 for their sixth Super Bowl win.

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While Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was named Super Bowl LIII MVP for a game-high 10 catches for 141 yards, Netflix quickly tweeted a picture of a cute fury creature from “Our Planet,” wading through the snow.

“I think we can all agree this the night’s real MVP?” wrote the service.

Many Netflix viewers on Twitter would have preferred the trailer to season three of “Stranger Things,” among other original programs.

“Excuse me, I just watched a three-hour football game to see a trailer I didn’t get,” tweeted one viewer.

“You disappointed us,” tweeted another.

Still another tweeted: “The real MVP could have been a trailer for The Irishman.”

The tweet was in reference to the highly anticipated Netflix original mobster movie starring Goodfellas alumni Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel and Bobby Cannavale, among others.

The 2019 movie is directed by Martin Scorsese with a reported $140 million — $200 million budget — the highest ever for Netflix.




Criterion Collection Launching Streaming Service as FilmStruck Alternative

Following subscriber pushback regarding the shuttering of Turner Classic Movies SVOD service FilmStruck, The Criterion Collection announced it will launch its own freestanding service in spring 2019 through a special arrangement with WarnerMedia.

Wholly owned and controlled by the Criterion Collection, the independent Criterion Channel will pick up where it left off as an add-on to the FilmStruck service, with thematic programming, regular filmmaker spotlights, and actor retrospectives, featuring major classics and hard-to-find titles from Hollywood and around the world, complete with special features, including  commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage and original documentaries.

The venerable library of films will also be part of WarnerMedia’s recently announced direct-to-consumer platform slated to launch in the fourth quarter of 2019. WarnerMedia is shutting down FilmStruck Nov. 29.

WarnerMedia — formed following AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner — announced the pending service “ensures that fans” have access to not only films from the Criterion Collection but also WarnerMedia’s extensive library “in what will be a rich and curated experience, which will further expand the audience footprint for these classic and acclaimed movies.”

Indeed, when news broke about the demise of FilmStruck, no less than Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, among other industry heavyweights, reportedly contacted WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey personally asking about an alternative solution.

Criterion’s new service will continue to produce guest programmer series “Adventures in Moviegoing,” which has featured cinephile luminaries such as Barry Jenkins, Guillermo del Toro, Bill Hader and Mira Nair. Criterion’s monthly 15-minute film school “Observations on Film Art,” “Tuesday’s Short + Feature” and the “Friday Double-Bill” will all be back as well.

Launched in 1984 with the Laserdisc releases of Citizen Kane (1941) and King Kong (1933), The Criterion Collection became known for its special-edition DVD and later Blu-ray Disc releases of restored classic films.

In 2011, Hulu licensed select Criterion titles for streaming, an arrangement  FilmStruck acquired in 2016.

Criterion announced it expects the new service to be available in the United States and Canada at launch, rolling out to additional territories over time.

Fans can sign up for the new service at

Charter members, following a 30-day free trial, will receive a reduced rate of $9.99 per month or $89.99 per year for as long as they keep their subscription active. Charter members also receive a gift certificate for the Criterion website, a membership card and concierge customer service, including a customer ID and special e-mail address.

The regular post-launch rate will be $10.99 per month or $100 per year.

‘Sartana’ Spaghetti Westerns, ‘The Last House on the Left,’ ‘Doom Asylum’ Among Cult Films Coming on Blu-ray in July From Arrow and MVD

Several cult films on Blu-ray are due in July from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Due July 3 is the Spaghetti Western limited-edition five-disc Blu-ray set, “The Complete Sartana,” featuring all five original “Sartana” movies — If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death, I Am Sartana Your Angel of DeathI Am Sartana Trade Your Guns for a CoffinHave a Good Funeral My Friend…Sartana Will Pay and Light the Fuse…Sartana is Coming. All five films are newly restored with special features, including audio commentary on If You Meet Sartana… Pray for Your Death by filmmaker Mike Siegel; audio commentaries on I Am Sartana, Your Angel of Death and Have a Good Funeral My Friend… Sartana Will Pay by Spaghetti Western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke; Gianfranco Parolini on If You Meet Sartana… Pray for Your Death, a brand-new interview with the writer-director; Fabbio Piccioni on If You Meet Sartana… Pray for Your Death, a brand-new interview with the writer; Sal Borgese on I Am Sartana, Your Angel of Death and Light the Fuse… Sartana Is Coming, two brand-new interviews with the actor; Ernesto Gastaldi on I Am Sartana, Your Angel of Death and Light the Fuse… Sartana Is Coming, two brand-new interviews with the writer; Roberto Dell’Acqua on Have a Good Funeral My Friend… Sartana Will Pay, a brand-new interview with the actor; and many more.

Also coming July 3 on Blu-ray is the directorial debut of horror legend Wes Craven, The Last House on the Left. Special features include three cuts of the film newly restored in 2K from original film elements; a double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork; new audio commentary by podcasters Bill Ackerman and Amanda Reyes; archival audio commentary with writer-director Craven and producer Sean S. Cunningham; archival audio commentary with stars David Hess, Marc Sheffler and Fred Lincoln; “Junior’s Story,” a new interview with Sheffler; Sheffler in conversation at the American Cinematheque; a new interview with wardrobe and make-up artist Anne Paul; “Songs in the Key of Krug,” a never-before-seen archive interview with Hess; “Celluloid Crime of the Century,” an archival documentary featuring interviews with Craven, Cunningham, and actors Hess, Lincoln, Jeramie Rain, Sheffler and Martin Kove; “Still Standing: The Legacy of The Last House on The Left,” an archival interview with Craven; “Scoring Last House on the Left,” an archival interview with actor-composer Hess; “It’s Only a Movie: The Making of The Last House on the Left,” an archival documentary; “The Craven Touch,” a new featurette bringing together interviews with a number of Craven’s collaborators, including Cunningham, composer Charles Bernstein, producer Peter Locke, cinematographer Mark Irwin and actress Amanda Wyss; “Early Days and ‘Night of Vengeance,’” in which filmmaker Roy Frumkes remembers Craven and Last House on the Left; “Tales That’ll Tear Your Heart Out,” excerpts from an unfinished Craven short; and more.

Seijun Suzuki’s yakuza film Detective Bureau 2-3 Go to Hell Bastards! arrives on Blu-ray July 10, starring original Diamond Guy, Jo Shishido. Special features include an interview with historian and Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns; a gallery of original production stills; a theatrical trailer; and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin.

The 1980s splatter slasher Doom Asylum comes out on Blu-ray July 17. It stars Kristen Davis (“Sex and the City”) in the story of a group of randy teenagers go up against a hideously deformed maniac armed with a wide selection of surgical tools. Special features include a new audio commentary with screenwriter Rick Marx; “Tina’s Terror,” a new interview with actress Ruth Collins; “Movie Madhouse,” a new interview with director of photography Larry Revene; “Morgues & Mayhem,” a new interview with special make-up effects creator Vincent J. Guastini; archival Interviews with producer Alexander W. Kogan Jr., director Richard Friedman and production manager Bill Tasgal; a still gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourne; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Amanda Reyes.

Also coming July 17 on Blu-ray is a 2K restoration of Sergio Martino’s horror title The Case of the Scorpion’s Tale, featuring lush views of the Greek coast. Special features include audio commentary with writer Ernesto Gastaldi, moderated by filmmaker Federico Caddeo (in Italian with English subtitles); a new interview with star George Hilton; a new interview with director Martino; a new analysis of Martino’s films by Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte, “Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film”; a new video essay by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films; a theatrical trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Rachael Nisbet and Howard Hughes, and a biography of star Anita Strindberg by Peter Jilmstad.

A Blu-ray collection featuring the fifth and sixth films by South Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo, Women Is the Future of Man and Tale of Cinema, is available July 17. Extras include newly translated optional English subtitles; newly filmed introductions to both films by Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns; interviews with Kim Sangkyung, Lee Kiwoo and Uhm Jiwon, the stars of Tale of Cinema; an introduction to Woman Is the Future of Man by director Martin Scorsese; “The Making Woman Is the Future of Man,” a featurette on the film’s production; interviews with the actors of Woman Is the Future of Man; a stills gallery; original trailers; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the films by Michael Sicinski.

Finally, the New Zealand cult classic from Vincent Ward, The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey, blending time travel, sci-fi and medieval fantasy, comes out July 24 on Blu-ray. Special features include a new appreciation by film critic Nick Roddick, recorded exclusively for the release; “Kaleidoscope: Vincent Ward – Film Maker,” a 1989 documentary profile of the director made for New Zealand television; a theatrical trailer; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kim Newman and an introduction by Ward.

Restored ‘Maborosi’ and ‘Rocco and His Brothers’ Due July 10 From Milestone

Two newly restored, acclaimed foreign films will come out July 10 from Milestone Film and Video.

Maborosi, the first feature film from the director of this year’s Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters, Hirokazu Kore-eda, is available on Blu-ray ($39.95) and DVD ($34.95). In the film, Yumiko is a happy young wife and mother who is haunted by the childhood memory of watching her grandmother walk away from the family home, never to be seen again. When her husband dies through a mysterious suicide, Yumiko struggles to care for her toddler son. Years later, mother and son travel to the home of her new husband, Tamio, and his daughter — a remote village on the Sea of Japan — where Yumiko tries to come to terms with both deaths. Tamio tells his distraught wife about the maboroshi no hikari — phantom lights that can lure fishermen to their deaths. With time, Yumiko finds love, understanding and peace with her new family.

Bonus features include a new HD master authorized by the director; commentary by Linda Ehrlich, independent film scholar and Associate Professor Emerita from Case Western Reserve University; “Birthplace,” a video doc with lead actress Makiko Esumi; and improved English subtitles by Linda Hoaglund with Judith Aley and assistance from Ehrlich.

Rocco and His Brothers (1960), a film from director Luchino Visconti that influenced Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, is due on Blu-ray ($39.95) and DVD ($34.95). The restoration by the Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory is a Martin Scorsese and Milestone Films presentation. In this work of Italian neorealism, joining the exodus of millions from Italy’s impoverished south, the formidable matriarch of the Parondi clan and her five children emerge from Milan’s looming Stazione Centrale in search of a better life in the industrial north. But, as they inch up the social ladder, family bonds are shredded.

Bonus features include a new 4K restoration by the Film Foundation and Cineteca di Bologna; a video introduction by Scorsese with a before-and-after restoration featurette; an exclusive video interview with Caterina d’Amico, daughter of screenwriter Suso Cecchi d’Amico (RoccoThe LeopardBicycle Thieves); d’Amico’s video interviews with cast and crew; and original production outtakes.

Italian Oscar Entry ‘A Ciambra’ Due on Disc July 10 from IFC

Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, A Ciambra, Italy’s entry for the 2018 Academy Awards, will come out on DVD and Blu-ray Disc July 10 from IFC Entertainment.

The second feature from director Jonas Carpignano (Mediterranea), the Cannes Film Festival award winner follows 14-year-old Pio (Pio Amato) who wants nothing more than the respect of his older brother, whom he emulates in every way — including his career as a petty criminal. When both his father and brother are arrested, Pio is determined to prove he can step up and be the head of his sprawling Romani family.

Both the Blu-ray and DVD include the making-of documentary “A Ciambra: The Other Side of the Story” and deleted scenes.