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Scorcese's Netflix Movie, 'The Irishman' Will Not Get Wide Theatrical Release

Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 1:58 PM and updated on Friday, October 11, 2019 4:58 PM

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There is a constant tug-of-war going on between the traditional theatrical movie release model and the disruptive online streaming model, and no company has been more visible on the side of disruption than Netflix. Year after year, Netflix has been trying to whittle away at the prominence of the theatrical model by increasing the quality and the prestige of its original movies.

This struggle reached new heights last year when Netflix's Roma was nominated for ten Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best foreign language film), and it won for Foreign Language Film, Cinematography, and Director (Alfonso Cuarón).

This year's contender from Netflix appears to be renowned director Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, which stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel. The $200M movie will debut at the New York Film Festival at the end of September, and it was hoped to get a wide theatrical rollout as part of its Oscar run.

The problem is, not many movie theaters are all that interested in helping Netflix make a bigger name for itself, and they're not thrilled with the idea of a movie having an even shorter release window before its available on streaming services.

The Hollywood Reporter published an article recently that mentions that a wide release for the movie will not be happening:

Not even a Martin Scorsese mob pic could bridge the divide between Netflix and cinema chains.

The streamer will forgo a wide theatrical release for Scorsese's The Irishman in order to make the film available to its subscribers as quickly as possible, a longstanding policy that doesn't fly with exhibitors. There had been rampant speculation that the Oscar-hungry Netflix might further soften its stance in regard to honoring theatrical windows, but in the end, it couldn't reach a compromise with chains including AMC and Cineplex.

Click the Read link below to view the full article.

So that leaves a small number of independent theaters that will be showing it starting November 1st. The article does say that it will expand to more theaters on subsequent weekends, with its debut on Netflix 27th. That date is just 26 days after its theatrical launch, which is much shorter than the usual 75-100 days that movies take between theatrical and home video releases.

Will this affect The Irishman's chances at the Academy Awards? Maybe. But Netflix continues to chip away at the traditional theatrical release model, and eventually, it's going to bring home that coveted Best Picture trophy. That day will be seen as a tipping point for the battle between the models of how movies are released to audiences, but it appears the journey will not be a cheap or fast one for Netflix.

Watch the teaser trailer for The Irishman:

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