Netflix Open To “Bright” Theatrical Run

Along with reshaping the way films and TV are distributed, Netflix is also breaking out into original features. So far most have been smaller independent films, but several bigger budgeted features from acclaimed filmmakers have caught people’s eye.

David Michod’s “War Machine” with Brad Pitt, Bong Joon-Ho’s “Okja” with Tilda Swinton, and David Ayer’s “Bright” have all previously been cited as features with real potential to find an audience during a theatrical run. Netflix, however, has been steadfast in its refusal to adhere to theatrical windows. What few theatrical runs they’ve done have been day-and-date releases with a simultaneous launch on its service, meaning most exhibitors haven’t wanted to deal with them – leaving only a handful of screens for their films to play on.

In its quarterly shareholder statement last week (via Fortune), Netflix acknowledged that it is open to the idea of their original films getting theatrical release in the United States:

“Since our members are funding these films, they should be the first to see them. But we are also open to supporting the large theater chains, such as AMC and Regal in the US, if they want to offer our films, such as our upcoming Will Smith film Bright, in theatres simultaneous to Netflix. Let consumers choose.”

“Bright” cost the streamer a whopping $90 million and is slated to hit the service in December. The talk comes as Netflix has announced plans to raise $1.08 billion in debt financing from ‘non-U.S. persons’, adding to the company’s long-term debt which stood at $3.37 billion last month. The company’s primary need for the cash is for additional content acquisition.