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“Our Business is not to Drive People to Theaters,” says Netflix’s Co-CEO Ted Sarandos.


Don’t expect Netflix to follow its rivals’ lead and embrace a traditional theatrical model like Amazon and Apple do.

“The film division is doing great,” Ted Sarandos said during an earnings call on Tuesday. “Bringing people to a theater is just not our business. Having great new, desirable content increases value for our members and drives value to our business. There are no major changes in the game.”

He also said that while it’s tempting to compare services, those other services “simply” don’t have the same scale and reach.

The major streamers have historically focused on making their original movies available to subscribers quickly, rather than allowing a long berth in movie theaters. Apple Original Films and Amazon Studios are now changing course dramatically. But not Netflix.

Sure, Netflix has for years given many of its original movies — and awards in particular — some sort of truncated big-screen release. But many movie theaters, including the big chains, don’t run a title until there is a sufficient exclusive period (nowadays that can be 35 to 40 days). Netflix doesn’t tend to stick to these parameters, which means it has to rely on a patchwork of indie cinema circuits.

Amazon kicked off its new action plan earlier this year when it announced it would be giving Ben Affleck’s Sky a traditional release in cinemas around the world. The critically acclaimed film debuted over the Easter break and has earned over $54 million worldwide to date.

Apple Original Films quickly followed suit by announcing it’s moving into the theatrical space as well, with an October 2023 release date partnering with Paramount for Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the flower moon, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert De Niro. Like it Skythe high-profile western crime drama will hit theaters for weeks before debuting on streaming.

Furthermore, Apple is teaming up with Sony to give Ridley Scott’s Napoleon a smashing run on the big screen. The movie, starring Joaquin Phoenix, hits theaters November 22, the eve of the lucrative Thanksgiving aisle.

Last year, some thought Netflix would change its mind by making a groundbreaking deal with major theater chains to buy Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Mystery of the Blades for a week over Thanksgiving before the sequel hits the streamer a month later. But Sarandos quickly threw cold water at the idea of ​​Netflix embracing theatrical, saying during an earnings call that streaming is the platform of choice for watching a movie.

Netflix’s 2023 lineup of original movies features a number of high-profile titles due out in November and December, starting with David Fincher’s The murderer, starring Michael Fassbender; the rom com A family affair, with Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, Joey King, Liza Koshy and Kathy Bates; psychological thriller Leaving the world behind, with Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali; and Zack Snyder’s epic space opera epic Rebel moon.

“Because of our reach and scale, it provides an opportunity to invest in these big movies and bring them to our members,” said Sarandos.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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