Have you seen Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery? Then you probably saw it in a movie theater. Netflix, which shelled out a fortune for the much-anticipated sequel (plus a threequel), granted it a brief traditional release, letting it play multiplexes for a mere week. It did well! It probably would have made a pretty penny had it been allowed to sit in theaters for months! Netflix top brass know this — and they seem to be fine with that.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings took part in a wide-ranging conversation, where he said, among other things, that new, chaotic Twitter honcho Elon Musk is “the bravest, most creative person on the planet” whom he’s “100 percent convinced that he is trying to help the world in all his endeavors.” After picking up your jaw from the floor, you may proceed to another whopper: that he’s okay not making money off of theatrical.
Hastings admitted that by not giving Glass Onion a proper theatrical release, they were leaving “lots” of money on the table. Cool with him, he said. “It’s a promotional tactic like film festivals, and if it works well we will do more of it,” he said. “We are not trying to build a theatrical business, we are trying to break through the noise.”
It’s not clear what Netflix’s game plan is here. They’ve been hemorrhaging subscribers this year, which means they could use some scratch. Theatrical runs have long been a great way to pay the bills. But perhaps they’re hoping to lure more people back to the service they abandoned, just so they can watch Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc solve murders while sounding like Foghorn Leghorn. Who can tell with disruptors like Reed Hastings?
In the meantime, Netflix may cry uncle, sort of: They’re toying with dropping Glass Onion back in theaters…after it hits their coffers…in a month. In any case, at least it will make its streaming debut on Dec. 23.