Netflix Film Chief Responds to Theatrical Release Criticisms

As we get to this point of the year, it seems like it's become an annual tradition to bring up Netflix and the qualifications it needs to meet for films on the platform to be eligible for Oscars. As per the Academy, the current rule states films need to have at least a seven-day run in Los Angeles theaters before they're allowed to be considered for Oscars and lately, Netflix has been pushing the limits of that rule. With Martin Scorsese's The Irishman set for release on the streaming platform later this month, it's been showing in limited theaters since November 8th, something theater exhibitors have taken a problem with. In a response to recent criticisms of a short theatrical release, Netflix film chief Scott Stuber says the box office is only built for a certain type of movie.

"It’s not a Netflix issue, it’s become a business issue.” Stuber told moderator Ron Howard in a session at the Produced By New York conference (via Deadline.) He continued by saying the box office market "has become very tight. It’s become about giant IP, animation, horror. There are certain kinds of genres that have been squeezed out because they’re more challenging.”

The executive added, “Instead of the rhetoric of ‘us against them,’ we all have to get together and talk about how we widen the funnel. That is the most important thing so we give different voices the chance.”

With The Irishman running just a few weeks in theaters, chains stand to lose out on millions from the Scorsese flick, something National Association of Theater Owners president John Fithian says is a disgrace. “It’s a very big disappointment that Netflix and the leading theater owners couldn’t figure out a way to put a significant movie from Martin Scorsese on a lot of screens," Fithian told the New York Times in a recent interview.

"This is a major director, a cinephile, who has made all kinds of important movies for our industry," he continued. "And The Irishman is going to play on one-tenth of the screens it should have played on, had Netflix been willing to come to an understanding with our members."

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The Irishman is now out for a limited time in select theatres ahead of its Netflix release on November 27th.

Are you hoping to catch a screening of The Irishman in theaters or will you wait for it to hit Netflix? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or by tweeting me at @AdamBarnhardt!