Netflix is reportedly looking to purchase theaters in order to show their original films on the big screen and land loftier awards.
The streaming giant dramatically changed the TV industry and has been clashing with movie theatre owners, but is now exploring the idea of buying cinemas in LA and New York. This move would enable the service to grow its original film and documentary production, after already promising to spend as much as $8 billion on original and licensed content this year alone.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Gatos, Calif. company considered purchasing LA’s Landmark Theatres, the circuit co-owned by Mark Cuban, but reportedly backed out because the sale price was too high.
Netflix has over 125 million subscribers worldwide and has released dozens of original TV shows and movies, but by bypassing the traditional theatrical market, their content has been left out of some of the world's most prestigious film festivals.
Recently, Netflix said they would not be attending the Cannes Film Festival this year because of new rules stating film competitors have to have had theatrical distribution in France. “We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, told Variety. “There's a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival.”
By having a theatrical outlet, Netflix would be able to be eligible for awards consideration and be more attractive for filmmakers who want to have their movies screened in theaters.
“It seems Netflix would like to get some of its movies for Oscar contention or other types of industry awards,” says Eric Handler, an analyst for MKM Partners. “They’re trying to get credibility. Netflix took off when a couple of their own titles got nominated for Emmys. That lent credibility to what they’re doing. If they can do that for various awards, that might raise the platform a little bit.”
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