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Netflix looks to grow box office presence

Tim Baysinger
May 17, 2022
Data: Box Office Mojo; Chart: Axios Visuals

The addition of box office dollars could be another way for Netflix to grow revenue as its business model comes under fire.

Why it matters: With subscriber losses expected to grow in the next quarter, Netflix is softening up its stance on some of its long-held business beliefs.

Driving the news: Bloomberg reported over the weekend that Netflix is considering giving some of its upcoming movies a sizable exclusive theatrical window, something it's mostly refused to do.

  • The two movies being discussed are the upcoming sequel to Rian Johnson's "Knives Out" and Alejandro Iñárritu's "Bardo."

Yes, but: To give either of those films a wide release, Netflix would need to agree to deals with AMC and Cineworld — the two largest theater chains that have so far refused to screen any of the streaming platform's films.

The big picture: As with adding an ad-supporting option, agreeing to a 45-day window would be another example of Netflix relenting on one of its long-standing business practices.

  • Netflix has battled with major theater owners for years about its desire for day-and-date releases, which theaters have largely balked at.
  • Though the pandemic initially forced many studios — most notably Warner Bros. — to release movies in theaters the same day it was available on streaming, that strategy is going away amid a box office resurgence.

The bottom line: Giving some of its films a proper theatrical run could serve as a marketing tool that prevents those same movies from getting lost in Netflix's expansive catalog.

  • But it's an open question as to whether or not Netflix would spend the marketing dollars required to tell its customers to watch a movie in a theater versus on its own platform.
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