Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos tossed cold water on hopes that the streamer’s recent deal with major cinema chains for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery could be the start of something bigger.
“We are in the business of entertaining our members with Netflix movies on Netflix, so that’s where we focus all our energy and most of our spend,” he said during a video Q&A after third-quarter earnings.
AMC, Regal and Cinemark will show the Rian Johnson-directed Knives Out sequel in 600 theaters for a week-long release over Thanksgiving weekend. Theater owners called the announcement earlier this month a breakthrough for them, and for Netflix to take its films to the screen first.
Sarandos put things straight. “There are all kinds of debates all the time, back and forth. But there is no question internally that we make our movies for our members, and we really want them to watch them on Netflix. And, of course, with one week of release in theaters, most people will see them on Netflix. Just like they see all movies. Most people watch most movies at home.”
He said the Glass Onion release “sits somewhere between that week we have to run movies to qualify for awards, and for the time we run them in a film festival, the time we travel them around. It’s a way of condensing them into a louder event.”
Because he does agree theatrical can do that. “Our films are always heavily featured in festivals around the world…and for all those folks who can’t get to a city where a festival is, this one-week release on 600 screens is a way of creating access to a film and building buzz. The same thing we are doing in those festivals. So I would look at this as another way to build anticipation for the film and build buzz for the film ahead of its Netflix release.”
Glass Onion debuted in Toronto.