Not only does Netflix produce its own original content, but it has become known over the past few years for acquiring already-produced films and releasing them exclusively on the streaming service. Movies like Mowgli and The Cloverfield Paradox were initially intended for theatrical release and then purchased by Netflix instead, making them "originals" for the platform. The same goes for international movies that need a worldwide audience. The streaming service made headlines back in February when it acquired the North American distribution rights to one of the biggest films of 2019, The Wandering Earth.
Regarded as the first true sci-fi blockbuster to come out of China, The Wandering Earth was a force to be reckoned with at the box office. The film earned nearly $700 million at the Chinese box office. It's a massive movie, which makes Netflix North American release strategy that much more bizarre. Early this week, The Wandering Earth just randomly showed up on Netflix, completely unannounced.
It's awesome that American audiences finally get to see the spectacle of The Wandering Earth (even if it isn't in theaters). But it's incredibly strange that Netflix wouldn't so much as advertise its release. This movie is a big deal, especially on social media, where sci-fi fans were buzzing after the massive debut in China.
There's no telling why Netflix is being so secretive about this release. The movie is one that fans have been excited about seeing for some time. But when you visit the home page, all you'll find is a massive banner advertising the new season of Lucifer.
It's not like Netflix doesn't like what it has in The Wandering Earth. Back when the acquisition of the film's distribution rights was announced, the folks at Netflix sounded pretty excited about being able to offer this blockbuster to new audiences.
“Netflix is committed to providing entertainment lovers with access to a wide variety of global content,” said Jerry Zhang, manager of content acquisition at Netflix. “With its high-quality production and story-telling, we believe that The Wandering Earth will be loved by sci-fi fans around the world.”
“The movie is a majestic feast for the eyes with massive production scale rarely seen in Mandarin films,” Netflix said in a statement. “Its post-production and special effects work spanned two years, undergoing more than 3,000 conceptual designs, and featuring over 10,000 specifically built props, while employing an impressive 2,000 special effects shots and a substantial amount of computer graphics shots.”
It's baffling that The Wandering Earth isn't being advertised by Netflix, but that doesn't mean that the movie isn't worth seeing. Now that it's streaming, you should seriously go check it out.
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