While it may have seemed that Netflix and movie theaters were just beginning to get along, the knives have been taken out once again. Netflix co-chief and chief content officer Ted Sarandos reportedly frustrated theater chains with his recent comments on Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, dismissing what looked to be a promising future for Netflix films releasing on the big screen.
“There are all kinds of debates all the time, back and forth. But there is no question internally that we make our movies for our members, and we really want them to see them on Netflix,” Sarandos said during an earnings call, per The Hollywood Reporter. “Most people watch movies at home.”
Sarandos’ pro-home viewing remarks are pretty odd, given how contradictory they appear to the streamer’s upcoming release of Glass Onion at major U.S. chain theaters like AMC, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark for a one-week period during Thanksgiving week. Though it’s only showing in 600 theaters and the gross numbers won’t be released, Glass Onion’s theatrical release is supposed to be a sort of trial run for Netflix, as the company attempts to see if theatergoers can build hype for the film ahead of awards season. Other plans are already in place for another theatrical release from the streamer, with Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Bardo to be widely released in Mexico on a 50-day theatrical window before hitting the service on December 16.
Now, Sarandos’ downplaying of the theatrical releases seems to have made those involved in the major cinema chains pretty peeved. Though AMC declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter, an anonymous exhibition executive did not have the same inclinations and spoke with the publication, saying, “Ted [Sarandos] is retreating big time and undermining his own team.”
Looks like some internal discussions might need to be had to get Netflix’s leaders on the same page! Even with the confusing manner of Sarandos’ comments and the already razor-thin relationship between Netflix and the major movie theater chains, the streamer will probably still be laughing to the bank as Glass Onion will likely earn them millions of dollars, both in theaters and from those viewing it at home (even if they won’t tell us how many streams it got).