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The new Knives Out is going to be in theaters! (Kinda.)
Plus, a better David O. Russell movie assigned.
Big news yesterday, as director Rian Johnson announced that Glass Onion, his sequel to Knives Out, will open in theaters over Thanksgiving for a week before debuting on Netflix at Christmas.
The real news here is the inclusion of AMC and Regal in this lineup of theaters; up to this point, Netflix movies have shown in smaller chains (Landmarks, Angelikas, Studio Movie Grill etc.; the biggest chain to regularly show them, I believe, is Cinemark) but not the two biggest circuits in America. Hooray!
Well … kinda. Hooray-ish. The details are a little less impressive: the movie will only show on 600 screens and Deadline is reporting that Netflix will not be revealing how the movie does at the box office. Glass Onion will be shown for a week, then pulled for nearly a month, then re-released at Christmas, creating the simulacrum of a theatrical “window.” AMC’s CEO Adam Aron is touting the move as a good “experiment” to see if the big theater chains can work together with Netflix on a regular basis.
The real question is whether or not Netflix actually tells anyone that the movie is going to be in theaters. Will the Glass Onion trailer play in front of movies from now until Thanksgiving? Will there be a committed online spend telling people to go see it in theaters? Will there be press and preview screenings for general audiences? Will there be TV ads touting the film’s release? Again, Deadline is reporting “there will be a committed theatrical marketing spend on behalf of Netflix, bigger than what they’ve done for their other theatrical films,” but it’s not clear what that means since the previous theatrical spends feel like they’ve been around ten bucks.
I speak from experience: I’ve seen Netflix’s Army of the Dead, Red Notice, and The Gray Man in theaters, and none of the screening rooms in which I watched them had more than 10 people seated, including me. Folks simply don’t know these pictures are showing on the big screen.
Putting movies in theaters doesn’t cost anything. (Unless you’re four-walling, of course, which is typically what Netflix has done.) Convincing audiences to show up for the movies you put in theaters is the hard (and expensive) part. I’ll cheer this move more lustily when I see Netflix make a good-faith investment there.
I also did not love Blonde, which we reviewed on Across the Movie Aisle, nor did I love Billy Eichner’s suggestion that Bros flopped thanks to homophobia, which we also discussed on ATMA. Make sure to check out the bonus members-only episode on the potential of Hollywood to save journalism, and the conflicts of interest that opportunity presents.
On The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood this week I talked to Jason Pargin about his new novel, If This Book Exists, You’re in the Wrong Universe, as well as a bunch of other stuff, including the evils of the almighty algorithm and his reason why audiobook sales seem to have replaced ebook sales.
Make sure to check out Bill Ryan’s essay on horror writer Brian Evenson. Bill’s series on horror writers last year was such a hit we decided to bring it back for another go-around. I think you’ll enjoy some of the profiles he has coming up.
If I lived in a city where Quentin Tarantino was coming as part of this tour, I would 100 percent go see his show. Most consistently entertaining guy in filmmaking.
Assigned Viewing: American Hustle (Starz)
Instead of going out to see Amsterdam you should just stay in and watch American Hustle. I know a lot of folks have cooled on this movie in recent years, but I still quite enjoy it: it’s just a freewheeling, over-indulgent romp with a ton of big names, all of whom seem to have pretty good chemistry with one another. It’s everything I wish Amsterdam had been.