Platforms Avoid Netflix Movies in Pre-Oscar Showcases

Netflix earned an impressive 24 Oscar nominations ahead of the 92nd Academy Awards on Feb. 9 — largely around two movies: Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.

Walmart-owned Vudu.com and exhibitors Cinemark, AMC Theatres and Regal Cinema have launched pre-Oscar events showcasing best picture nominated films — with the exception of Netflix’s titles.

That’s because Netflix — per longstanding policy — does not abide by Hollywood’s traditional theatrical release strategy affording exhibitors exclusive 90-day access. Instead, the streamer mandates all original movies be made available across all distribution channels(including theatrical) at the same time.

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This has angered exhibitors and industry insiders domestically and abroad (i.e. Cannes Film Festival) for years — the result being Netflix movies are largely ignored by major theater chains.

Indeed, Cinemark’s “Annual Oscar Movie Week Festival,” which runs from Feb. 3 – 9, enables consumers (for $35) to screen all nominated films — with the exception of Netflix’s titles. Vudu is taking pre-orders for Oscar-nominated titles with the exception of The Irishman and Marriage Story.

“I don’t see the utility of making a film available on VOD or in theaters, if it’s available for free to anyone with a subscription or trial account at Netflix,” said Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter. “Netflix would rather people sign up for a free trial and watch these films than it would care for the 50% – 65% it might earn from a movie ticket or VOD.”

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Last year, Netflix’s first Oscar nominated best picture title, Roma, was also ignored by major exhibitors. It went on to win for best director (Alfonso Cuarón) and best foreign language film (Mexico’s first) — but no best picture. The movie reportedly generated about $200,000 in revenue from pre-nomination screenings over the extended Thanksgiving weekend at select indie theatres in Los Angeles.

The imbroglio made headlines when director Steven Spielberg suggested movies that forgo the traditional theatrical run should not be considered for Oscars. The Academy’s annual board of governors post-Oscar meeting nixed that idea.

Netflix responded (on Twitter) at the time stressing “we love cinema” and ubiquitous distribution. “These things are not mutually exclusive,” the streamer tweeted.

While Roma did become Netflix’s first to be included in The Criterion Collection on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, it arguably left millions of dollars in box office revenue on the table.

“If Netflix wants to really be a movie company, and not just a highly successful television company, why won’t they consider the traditional movie business model?,” John Fithian, CEO of the National Association of Theater Operators, wrote in a 2018 blog post. “Wouldn’t Netflix make more money and establish a much deeper cultural conversation by offering a true and robust theatrical run first, and offering exclusive streaming to its subscribers later?”

Oscar-Lauded ‘Parasite’ Best-Selling Foreign Language Film of All Time on FandangoNow

Best Picture Oscar contender Parasite is making history as both the best-selling foreign language film of all time on FandangoNow and as one of the streaming service’s top five preordered titles of all time, following three superhero movies, Avengers: Endgame, Joker and Venom.

FandangoNow is movie ticketing service Fandango’s transactional video-on-demand service.

The Korean film also earned Academy Award nominations for the Best International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign-Language Film), Best Director for Bong Joon Ho, Original Screenplay, Film Editing and Production Design.

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Parasite is undeniably one of the year’s most talked-about films,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “Director Bong Joon Ho and the great ensemble cast create a perfect recipe for a suspenseful story with humor, heart, horror and more. The film’s six Oscar nominations has only increased fan anticipation to watch and re-watch the film as it finally arrives at home.”

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Parasite is available for purchase on FandangoNow here.

‘Joker,’ ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ ‘1917,’ Netflix’s ‘The Irishman’ Pace Oscar Race

A couple of Netflix originals joined a handful of studio films, a gritty comic book movie and a critically acclaimed competitor from South Korea in the race for Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards, as announced the morning of Jan. 13.

Netflix’s The Irishman and Marriage Story were among the nine films nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Netflix also earned Best Animated Feature nomination for Klaus and I Lost My Body, plus a Best Documentary Feature nom for American Factory from the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions.

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The Irishman earned 10 nominations. In addition to Best Picture, it will contend for Best Director for Martin Scorsese, Best Supporting Actor for Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects and Best Costume Design.

Marriage Story earned a total of six nominations. It is also up for Best Actor for Adam Driver, Best Actress for Scarlett Johansson, Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Original Score for Randy Newman.

Johansson was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Jojo Rabbit.

Warner’s Joker led all films with 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix, Best Director for Todd Phillips, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Film Editing, Cinematography, and Makeup and Hairstyling. The film is available now on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally.

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood also earned 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio, Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt, Cinematography, Costume Design, Production Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. The film is available now on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally from Sony Pictures.

Universal’s 1917, which was the No. 1 film at the box office the weekend of Jan. 10-12, also earned 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Director for Sam Mendes, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and Makeup and Hairstyling.

Other Best Picture nominees include Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, and South Korea’s Parasite.

Ford v Ferrari will be released through digital retailers Jan. 28, and on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 11 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. It also earned nominations for Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

Parasite, which is also up for Best International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign-Language Film) among its six noms, will be released through digital retailers Jan. 14, and on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 28 from Universal. It is also contending for Best Director for Bong Joon Ho, Original Screenplay, Film Editing and Production Design.

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In addition to Klaus and the French film I Lost My Body, nominees for Best Animated Feature include Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4, Fox’s Missing Link. The latter three are all available now on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally.

The top-grossing film and top-selling home video of 2019, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame, distributed by Disney, earned a single nomination, for Best Visual Effects.

Composer John Williams earned his 52nd Oscar nomination, for Best Original Score for Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The film is also up for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing.

The winners will be announced Feb. 9 on ABC. A full list of nominees is available here.

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.

 

Oscars Group Rejects Proposed Ban on Netflix Movies

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors  April 24 announced it would continue to welcome movie nominations from streaming services such as Netflix.

The organization in charge of the annual Academy Awards left eligibility requirements for feature films unchanged, which means any submission must have a minimum one-week theatrical release in Los Angeles County to be considered.

Netflix did just that for last year’s nominee Roma, which was released in indie theaters for several weeks ahead of its global streaming debut. Most major exhibitors continue to boycott Netflix movies over its anti-theatrical window distribution strategy.

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The board had considered proposals from industry groups, included veteran director Steven Spielberg that called for submissions to have a minimum four-week theatrical run.

“We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions,” Academy President John Bailey said in an April 23 statement. “Our rules currently require theatrical exhibition, and also allow for a broad selection of films to be submitted for Oscars consideration. We plan to further study the profound changes occurring in our industry and continue discussions with our members about these issues.”

No mention was made whether possible involvement by the Department of Justice played a role in maintaining the status quo.

DOJ antitrust boss Makan Delrahim in March sent a letter to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson saying any new rules put in place to restrict streaming video services from consideration could be viewed as anticompetitive.

Separately, the Academy voted to change the “foreign-language film” category name to“international feature film.”

“We have noted that the reference to ‘foreign’ is outdated within the global filmmaking community,” said Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the international feature film committee. “We believe that international feature film better represents this category, and promotes a positive and inclusive view of filmmaking, and the art of film as a universal experience.”

 

DOJ Puts Oscars on Notice Regarding Streaming Video

The Justice Department reportedly has contacted the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences — the organization that runs the Academy Awards — about potential new rules that would restrict original movies distributed via streaming video channels (i.e. Netflix) from awards consideration.

First reported by Variety, DOJ antitrust boss Makan Delrahim March 21 sent a letter to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson saying any new rules put in place to restrict streaming video services from consideration could be viewed as anticompetitive.

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“In the event that the academy — an association that includes multiple competitors in its membership — establishes certain eligibility requirements for the Oscars that eliminate competition without procompetitive justification, such conduct may raise antitrust concerns,” Delrahim wrote, as reported by Variety.

At issue are select original movies from Netflix, which the streaming pioneer submits for awards (including Best Picture) without a traditional 90-day theatrical release.

Netflix’s Roma was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning three, including Best Director, but losing Best Picture to Green Book.

The Oscar organization, in a media statement, confirmed receiving correspondence from the DOJ and responding accordingly.

“The Academy’s Board of Governors will meet on April 23 for its annual awards rules meeting, where all branches submit possible updates for consideration,” a representative from the Academy said in a media statement.

Delrahim previously tried unsuccessfully to quash AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, which led to the formation of WarnerMedia.

 

 

 

 

 

‘Aquaman’ Makes Another Splash on FandangoNow Chart

Aquaman emerged at No. 1 on FandangoNow’s chart of top movies for digital rental and purchase for another week.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

Warner’s DC Comics superhero feature held off the studio’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which levitated to No. 2 (from No. 8) on the chart for the week ended March 17. “Harry Potter” writer J.K. Rowling’s followup to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them earned $160 million in theaters, while the swimming superhero vehicle earned $334 million at the box office.

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Warner also took the third spot on the FandangoNow chart with the Oscar-launded A Star Is Born, which earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song and eight nominations. The music drama starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga slipped just one spot from No. 2 the previous week.

Best Picture Academy Award winner Green Book landed at No. 4, rising from No. 10 the previous week. The film also picked up Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.

Newly arriving on the chart were Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, which took the fifth spot, and Universal’s Mortal Engines, which came in at No. 10. Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, earned $171 million at the box office, while Mortal Engines, a post-apocalyptic actioner backed by Peter Jackson, made just $16 million theatrically.

The top films to purchase and/or rent on FandangoNow for the week ended March 17 were:

  1. Aquaman — Warner
  2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — Warner
  3. A Star is Born(2018) — Warner
  4. Green Book— Universal
  5. Mary Poppins Returns — Disney
  6. Instant Family — Paramount
  7. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Sony
  8. Creed II — Warner
  9. Ralph Breaks the Internet — Disney
  10. Mortal Engines— Universal

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Casts Spell on Redbox Charts

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald worked some magic the week ended March 17, levitating to the top spot on both Redbox charts.

“Harry Potter” writer J.K. Rowling’s followup to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took the No. 1 spot on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and streaming. The Warner release was new-to-disc for the week, streeting March 12.

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Two other new disc releases, both from Universal, entered the chart for the week. Best Picture Oscar winner Green Book nabbed the No. 2 spot. The film also picked up Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali. Mortal Engines, a post-apocalyptic actioner backed by Peter Jackson, came in at No. 4, just behind the previous week’s top title, Paramount’s Instant Family, a comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne.

Warner’s fight drama Creed II landed at No. 5 on the disc chart, falling from No. 2 the previous week.

On the digital side, coming in at No. 2 for the week was Instant Family, sliding from No. 1. Green Book entered at No. 3, followed at No. 4 by another Oscar-lauded film, Warner’s A Star Is Born, which picked up an Academy Award for Best Original Song and earned eight nominations, including acting nods for Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Mortal Engines rounded out the top five on the digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 17:

  1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (New) — Warner
  2. Green Book (New) — Universal
  3. Instant Family — Paramount
  4. Mortal Engines (New) — Universal
  5. Creed II — Warner
  6. Ralph Breaks the Internet — Disney
  7. A Star Is Born (2018)— Warner
  8. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  9. Robin Hood (2018) — Lionsgate
  10. The Grinch — Universal

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 17:

  1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — Warner
  2. Instant Family — Paramount
  3. Green Book — Universal
  4. A Star Is Born (2018)— Warner
  5. Mortal Engines — Universal
  6. Creed II — Warner
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  8. Nobody’s Fool (2018) — Paramount
  9. Robin Hood (2018) — Lionsgate
  10. The Possession of Hannah Grace — Sony

Oscar-Winning Documentary ‘Free Solo’ Streaming on Hulu

Hulu is now streaming Free Solo, the Academy Award-winning Best Documentary Feature highlighting soloist climber Alex Honnold.

The film, which began streaming on the service March 13, is from award-winning documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin. It’s an unflinching portrait of Honnold as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream of climbing El Capitan, the 3,200-foot peak in Yosemite National Park, without a rope.

Free Solo is a true masterpiece that combines awe-inspiring camerawork with the kind of authentic storytelling that Hulu viewers love,” said Lisa Holme, VP of content acquisition at Hulu. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with our friends at National Geographic Documentary Films to add this extraordinary film to the growing slate of award-winning documentaries available on Hulu.”

The documentary debuted at the Telluride Film Festival and has screened at more than 30 film festivals around the world, including TIFF, IDFA, Adelaide, Mill Valley Film Festival, DOC NYC and the Savannah Film Festival. It is the second highest-grossing documentary of 2018 in the United States and has been honored with a BAFTA for Best Documentary Feature, along with three Critics Choice awards, three Cinema Eye awards, an ACE award for Best Documentary, and PGA and DGA nominations, among several other recognitions.

‘Instant Family’ Tops Redbox Charts

Paramount’s Instant Family fostered a win on both Redbox charts the week ended March 10.

The family comedy, starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, took the No. 1 spot on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and streaming. It was new-to-disc for the week, streeting March 5.

Warner’s boxing drama Creed II, also released on disc March 5, took the No. 2 spot on both charts.

Oscar-lauded films made several appearances on the Redbox charts. Disney’s sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet, which was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar, remained at No. 3 on the disc chart, the same spot it held the previous week. The music drama A Star Is Born — which garnered an Academy Award for Best Original Song and picked up eight nominations, including nods for Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga — dropped from No. 1 to No. 4 on the disc chart, and from No. 1 to No. 3 on the digital side. Bohemian Rhapsody slipped from No. 2 to No. 5 on the disc chart, and from No. 2 to No. 4 on the digital chart. The film, about the life of Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, won Academy Awards for Best Actor for Rami Malek, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.

Three other new disc releases entered the top 10. In the eighth spot was Lionsgate’s Ben Is Back, starring Julia Roberts as a desperate mother with a troubled son. At No. 9 was Fox’s The Favourite, which earned a surprise Best Actress Oscar for Olivia Colman. And landing at No. 10 was the Lionsgate thriller The Vanishing, starring Gerard Butler.

Ben Is Back (No. 8) and The Favourite (No. 7) also placed on the digital chart.

Lionsgate’s Robin Hood held strong on both charts, placing No. 6 (from No. 4 the previous week) on the disc chart and No. 6 (from No. 3) on the digital chart.

Meanwhile, Universal’s Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch settled at No. 7 (from No. 5) on the disc chart.

Sony’s Venom, which debuted on digital late last year, made an appearance on the digital chart at No. 5 — perhaps boosted by anticipation for the latest superhero movie hitting theaters, Captain Marvel.

 

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 10:

  1. Instant Family (New) — Paramount
  2. Creed II (New) — Warner
  3. Ralph Breaks the Internet — Disney
  4. A Star Is Born (2018) — Warner
  5. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  6. Robin Hood (2018) — Lionsgate
  7. Seuss’ The Grinch — Universal
  8. Ben Is Back (New) — Lionsgate
  9. The Favourite (New) — Fox
  10. The Vanishing (2019) (New)— Lionsgate

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 10:

  1. Instant Family — Paramount
  2. Creed II — Warner
  3. A Star Is Born (2018) — Warner
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  5. Venom (2018) — Sony
  6. Robin Hood (2018) — Lionsgate
  7. The Favourite — Fox
  8. Ben Is Back — Lionsgate
  9. Nobody’s Fool (2018) — Paramount
  10. The Possession of Hannah Grace — Sony