Video streaming giant Netflix Inc. (NFLX - Analyst Report) just struck a deal with luxury theater chain iPic Entertainment to bring its original films to the big screen, a partnership that has come soon after the company announced its total content library will soon be 50% original productions.
First reported by the Wall Street Journal, the deal is set to include 10 of Netflix’s upcoming original movies, including Mascots, a comedy directed by Christopher Guest, and the drama The Siege of Jadotville, which will be simultaneously released this Friday, October 7. Netflix’s films will screen in Los Angeles and New York City.
iPic Entertainment will be the sole theater screening the movies. It was founded in 2006, and is a small theater company offering luxury services like fine dining, alcohol, and special seating—it also has a membership option—in 15 locations around the country. Tickets are expensive, though, at almost $30 each.
While this move is a great way for Netflix to showcase its content to a broader audience, as well as potentially gain new subscribers, big theater chains have “generally proven resistant to the idea of simultaneous release, even as streaming services gain popularity,” notes The Verge.
The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) responded to the deal, with president John Fithian commenting that "Simultaneous release, in practice, has reduced both theatrical and home revenues when it has been tried…Just as Netflix and its customers put a value on exclusivity, theater owners and their customers do too."
It’ll be interesting to see how Netflix subscribers utilize this new way of watching the company’s content, and if more partnerships like this pop up in the streaming and exhibition industries. But with that hefty ticket price, the best deal may still be the luxury of watching new movies at home.
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