Netflix has famously butted heads with exhibitors in recent years over their strategy of releasing films directly on their service and bypassing the theatrical release window. In the past, they’ve wanted day-and-date releases theatrically for their titles, but exhibitors have refused to play ball.
It has proven hard for them as films need to screen in theaters in order to be eligible for Oscars, and the streaming giant does want those potential awards. Now a new report in The Los Angeles Times suggests Netflix has come up with a potential solution – buying their own cinemas.
The paper reports the company is exploring the idea of snatching up some movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York, which would give them the ability to showcase their own movies on the big screen and qualify for awards season honors. At one point, the company reportedly considered buying Mark Cuban’s Landmark Theatres chain, but ended up backing off the deal because they thought the sale price was too high.
The benefits are obvious beyond mere awards qualification – such theaters would not only allow a big screen experience for Netflix original films, but could also do the same for their library of original TV series – a “Stranger Things” big screen marathon for example. The article re-iterates this is only an early idea at the moment but Netflix speciality theaters is an option we may see in years to come.