Netflix Pushes Films To Theaters, Theaters Push Back

By October 6, 2016


Watching a Netflix movie at home is a great way to spend your evening – unless your home theater is nothing more than your grandfather’s old cathode ray tube television in front of two rusting lawn chairs.

If so, the subscription streaming service has you covered, launching a new partnership with the iPic Entertainment movie chain that will let you enjoy select Netflix films in the comfort of what the theater describes as huge “flat bed seats.”

While the experience itself will cost you upward of $30 (or like four months of Netflix) and showcase films the streaming service probably would’ve never put in theaters otherwise, the news has met with a considerable amount of controversy from theater chains that are not iPic Entertainment.

The National Association of Theatre Owners (yes, they really do call themselves “NATO”) told the Los Angeles Times that having partnerships like Netflix and iPic making films available at home the same time they’re offered to theaters violates the very core of what keeps those theaters financially viable. The current practice of letting theaters have exclusive use of a film for its first few months in existence is essential in keeping the theater-going industry vibrant.

Even when theaters have tried to do simultaneous releases in the past, John Fithian – the president of the group that represents 33,000 movie screens – said in a statement those efforts were colossal failures.

“We all should tread lightly and be mindful that, over the years, the film industry’s success is a direct result of a highly successful collaboration between filmmakers, distributors and exhibitors. Simultaneous release, in practice, has reduced both theatrical and home revenues when it has been tried.”

The Times itself points out two recent failures that involved Netflix, both which took place this past year. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny as well as Beasts of No Nation both failed at the box office. At the same time, however, many theaters refused to carry the films, severely limiting the potential box office.

iPic will kick off the new partnership with Netflix’s upcoming film The Siege of Jadotville. The period piece set in 1960s Congo stars Jamie Dornan from Fifty Shades of Grey and Once Upon a Time as well as Terra Nova‘s Jason O’Mara. And it comes out Friday.

Finding an iPic won’t be easy. The chain has just 15 theaters in 10 states. However, that does include some larger markets like New York City, Los Angeles and Miami.

Overall, Netflix and iPic will team up for 10 movies under the current deal, which the theater chain’s chief executive Hamid Hashemi calls a “game-changer.”

“I’m surprised that people see this as a bad thing. Our deal is to showcase the quality of our theaters … If your theaters don’t live up to modern-day expectations, obviously people are going to stay home.”

The following two tabs change content below.
Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.