Theater Group Crying Foul Over Netflix’s Limited Theatrical Run for Scorsese’s The Irishman

Netflix plays by its own rules. Google, Facebook, Amazon — all have done the same things in their businesses.

Most of us will not be able to see Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman that opened in very limited theaters this weekend. We’ll have to wait and see it streaming on Netflix on November 27.

The Martin Scorsese-directed drama is screening in only eight theaters this weekend in Los Angeles and New York before it will have a 26-day run in limited theaters. It starts streaming on Netflix on Nov. 27. Typically, major exhibitors insist on 72-day periods of exclusivity before films go on streaming platforms and home video. According to the Times, representatives of two major theater chains agreed, independently, to lower that number to around 60 days. Netflix said it would not go over a 45-day exclusivity window. On Nov. 8, the movie will play in small movie theaters in the country’s top 10 markets, and it will then roll out to more theaters in the following weeks.

Netflix’s Limited ‘The Irishman’ Release Is a ‘Disgrace,’ Head of Movie Theater Group Says

Scorsese defended his decision to work with Netflix, saying that essentially they were the only game in town willing to front the $160 million to make this film. The big five studios wouldn’t spend the money required by the expensive de-aging CGI.

The major studios won’t screen Netflix original movies if they don’t adhere to the theatrical window. Netflix wanted a shorter window, which I have suggested makes sense too.

This also happened with Eddie Murphy’s Dolemite Is My Name ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Very small theater screenings, then open less than a month later on Netflix. Our website is treating these large budget Netflix Original movies just like in the theater movies (as far as reviewing goes, anyway), for what it’s worth.

I think the line between “new in theaters” is becoming increasingly blurred as the big theater chains are forced to play ball with the various streaming services on a reduced theatrical window.

Also, I don’t care much for cinematic elitism, declaring straight to TV movies to be inferior by default simply because they weren’t released in the theaters first. A movie should be judged on whether or not you liked it, were entertained by it, that it was, in fact, a good movie.

Where and when a movie was released only matters in how easy or hard it is to watch it. That is something fair to criticize, but one could argue Netflix is much more accessible than seeing a movie in the theater. I live near a major city (Seattle, WA) and yet am finding some new theatrical release movies difficult to find during their theatrical run.

Yes, I realize there are a lot of truly terrible straight to video/TV movies, but the same can be said for theatrical release movies.

Netflix should be lauded for spending the $159 million to make The Irishman, not shunned because they didn’t do what the theater chain heavyweights tried to ram down their throat. We, as moviegoers, suffer by being denied access to seeing movies like this on the big screen. That’s the true travesty here.

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