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Netflix announces plans & dates for its first movies

08 Jul 2015 | Rasmus Larsen |

Netflix has had success in creating original TV series and the next step is full-length movies. The streaming giant has now confirmed release dates for its first movies that will be released in all regions at the same time. Some titles will also be released in cinemas. Netflix’s move into movies can change the rules of the industry.

It starts on October 16th

It starts on October 16th with the release of Beasts of No Nation, a movie about a warlord that takes a child soldier under his wings. The movie will premiere in all Netflix territories and some cinemas at the same time.

Beasts of No Nation

On December 11th, Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six will be released in all regions. It is the first of four movies from Adam Sandler on Netflix, in what appears to be classic goofy Sandler style.

Later in December, Bill Murray's A Very Murray Christmas will be released. It is an ode to variety shows of the past and will feature guest star appearances by George Clooney, Chris Rock and Paul Shaffer. It appears to be the first movies from Netflix that can be seen in 4K resolution.

In March 2016, Pee Wee's Big Holiday will be released. It is based on the Pee-wee Herman character.

The movie that marked Netflix’s entry into the industry is delayed. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend was originally scheduled for August 2015 but it has been postponed to the first quarter of 2016. Like the other movies, it will be released in all Netflix territories on the same date, as well as in IMAX cinemas and Chinese cinemas. The movie will be available to watch in 4K.

More movies slated for 2016 or later include War Machine with Brad Pitt in the lead role; a film described as a satirical comedy about the war in Afghanistan. It is also said to be Netflix’s most expensive production to date ($40 million). In 2016, Netflix plans to release Jadotville - another war movie - with Jamie Dornan who recently starred in 50 Shades of Grey and the The Fall. The same year, Ricky Gervais' satirical Special Correspondants will premiere. Lastly, Netflix is said to have inked a four movie deal with the Duplass brothers.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

A controversial start

When a new player challenges conventions in an industry it is rarely met with acceptance. It is no different this time. Netflix began to speak publicly about its plans for movies last year, and it quickly became clear that the company has big ambitions.

Cinema groups have refused to distribute Netflix’s movies in the US on fears that it will break the window model. The model dictates that movies are released in cinemas first and then move on to other distribution channels. The established industry argues that sales of tickets is what keeps the industry alive, thereby assuming that status quo is the model of the future.

Several filmmakers have already rejected the established industry’s attempt to cling to a business model that no longer resonates with consumer demands.

- “As filmmakers, we are constantly looking for new ways to bring a movie to the largest possible audience. Netflix has already reinvented the TV market and is now moving front and center into the film business.” said Alan Moloney, who is producing Jadotville, to Variety.

Mark Duplass who will produce four movies for Netflix said.

- “My first movie made a grand total of $220,000 in theaters but about 5 million people have seen it on Netflix because they can click on it and they can try it out. And so I really recommend to get your get goddamn movie on Netflix. It made my career.”

Netflix hopes to break the "windows" and release movies and TV series in all territories and channels simultaneously. The have invited cinemas to join, but the response has been predictable. Netflix will have to prove their worth over the next few years but the company certainly appears dedicated.

- Source: Netflix, Variety (1, 2)

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