A time when bigscreen, studio films will make smallscreen debuts.
original films, all in 2018.
Just yesterday, the streaming giant poached Ryan Murphy ( American Horror Story, Feud, Glee, Nip/Tuck) away from 20th Century Fox TV in a massive $400 million deal.
This is after they poached Shonda Rhimes ( Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal) from ABC and while they’re already nailing TV anyway — Stranger Things, Glow, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, The Crown, Narcos, the list goes on.
And while they used to focus their movie efforts on acquiring prestige films from festivals and creating original content, Netflix have now switched tactics and started buying up a storm from major studios.
Last year, Netflix made its first acquisition, buying comic company Millarworld ( Kick Ass, Kingsman) in a move toward creating its own superhero universe. Millarworld’s founder is a former Marvel comic developer and a creative consultant for 20th Century Fox ( X-Men, Deadpool).
They then bought JJ Abrams’ Cloverfield Paradox from Paramount and debuted it after the Super Bowl, to almost impressively negative reviews. But you know who doesn’t care about reviews? Netflix. That Godawful Will Smith film Bright got horrific reviews too, but it also became one of Netflix’s mostwatched titles.
And now major studios know Netflix is in the market for things they’re not that into, they’re jumping on the bandwagon; Universal’s already sold them its alien film Extinction and more are sure to follow.
Yeah, they’re mid-budget, b-grade, sci-fi films but if anyone knows how to make those things work, it’s Netflix (the home of cancelled 90s sitcoms and Adam Sandler films).
And let’s not forget that sometimes studios are wrong. Netflix also just nabbed the new Natalie Portman film Annihilation from Paramount after they got scared we, the audience, would be too stupid to get it. It’s since been hailed as a “masterpiece” and a “new sci-fi classic”, so who’s the fool now, Paramount?
All this is to say: We’re right on the cusp of a time when big-screen, studio films will make small-screen debuts and not in a straight-to-DVD kind of way.
If Netflix carries on the way it is and other streaming services follow suit, which is likely — who knows? We could be watching the next superhero blockbuster or Oscar-winner on release day from the comfort of our own homes.
There’s just one problem though: Movies are made for cinema. Nothing is as funny, scary, tear-jerking or intense at home as it is in the cinema. Films like Dunkirk and Baby Driver simply don’t translate off the big screen, films like the Black Panther don’t hit as hard, and films like Lady Bird don’t resonate as much when you’re on your couch, probably with phone in hand.
Netflix has already pretty much killed TV as we used to know it, so is traditional cinema next on its hit list? Probably. And Netflix has the muscle to pull it off and make it look like an accident. The question is: do we want them to?