Oct 6, 2022 - Economy

Netflix to put “Knives Out” sequel in theaters before streaming

"Knives Out" cast members (left to right) Jaeden Martell, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon and Katherine Langford in Beverly Hills in November 2019. Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Netflix on Thursday said that it will put its upcoming sequel for its hit psychological drama “Knives Out” in theaters before making it available to its 220 million subscription streaming subscribers.

Why it matters: It marks the first-ever Netflix film to debut across all three major U.S. theatrical chains: AMC, Cinemark and Regal.

Catch up quick: The first film, which was distributed by Lionsgate, had a traditional theatrical release on Thanksgiving 2019 and premiered on Netflix in 2020.

  • The streamer outbid other traditional studios, paying a reported amount of roughly $400 million for the film's two sequels. Director Rian Johnson and producer Ram Bergman owned the film’s rights.

Details: "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" will premiere first in 600 theaters around the country for a limited theatrical debut period of just one week from Nov. 23-29, a month ahead of its Netflix streaming debut on Dec. 23.

  • In a statement, AMC Theaters said the film will also appear in select locations abroad through its subsidiary Odeon Cinema Group.

Be smart: Striking agreements with major theater chains is an important feat for Netflix considering the contentious relationship the streamer has historically had with some of the bigger exhibitors.

  • A few years ago, Netflix tried to air its Academy Award-nominated film "The Irishman" in AMC and Regal Cinemas, but ultimately failed to strike a deal with the two theater chains. They reportedly demanded that Netflix commit to a theatrical exclusivity window of at least 60 days. Netflix wanted 45 days.

Yes, but: The theater chains have good reason to take any small win that they can.

  • The box office is down 34% in ticket sales this year compared to 2019, as it continues to rebound from pandemic-driven shifts to streaming. September was a particularly bad month for theaters.

The big picture: The streamer for years resisted monetizing its content in places outside of its service. But facing pressure from Wall Street, Netflix is changing its business strategy to look more like a traditional media company.

  • After years of resisting ads, the company now plans to launch an ad-supported streaming tier later this year.

What's next: Box office tickets for the new "Knives Out" sequel go on sale Oct. 10.

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