Netflix is reportedly buying cinemas to get ahead in Oscars race

This would change the streaming giant's release strategy

Ilana Kaplan
Friday 20 April 2018 20:46
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Netflix headquarters. Credit: Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images
Netflix headquarters. Credit: Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images

Netflix will reportedly begin purchasing movie theatres - to help it get ahead in the race for Academy Awards.

The streaming giant has aimed to land an Oscar nod since the release of its first original feature in 2015, Beasts of No Nation.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Netflix is allegedly contemplating the acquisition of cinemas in Los Angeles and New York to help them during awards season.

Netflix's movies would likely get an extra push from being exposed to audiences in theatres.

The report claims that Netflix executives originally wanted to buy Los Angeles' Landmark Theatres, co-owned by Mark Cuban.

Landmark Theatres is known for luring in awards voters by screening "first-run" movies, documentaries and international movies during Academy Awards season.

However this claim has been disputed by sources close to Netflix saying that the company isn't planning to purchase Landmark's theatres.

​"Netflix wants to establish itself as a critical exhibition source on both coasts," a source told the Times. "For awards consideration they need to be able to release pictures on screens in major markets."

Netflix's current business model is a "day-and-date" strategy, which releases films nominated for awards on the platform the same day they open in theatres.

Movies like Beasts of No Nation, Okja, The Meyerowitz Stories and Mudbound have followed suit.

Since the films are instantly available on Netflix, sometimes the platform's content doesn't get enough attention through word of mouth.

It's likely that a move like this will help their awards chances, but it's understood that Netflix says that the move is for consumer-choice purposes.

Netflix's potential next move comes after the company removed its movies from the 2018 Cannes Film Festival after a disagreement about theatrical release dates.

While The Times maintains that there's been no Netflix cinema deal yet, executives seem to be interested in pursuing this strategy down the line.

The Independent has reached out to Netflix for comment, but has not yet gotten a response.

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