Netflix has agreed to some exclusive theatrical distribution for “Glass Onion” and “Matilda the Musical,” but it’s unclear if exhibitors will get much more. From a report: “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” the much-anticipated follow-up to the 2019 sleeper hit directed by Rian Johnson, was supposed to be Netflix’s Rubicon crossing moment. Instead of giving the film a viable theatrical release — a strategy designed to ensure that most viewers eventually see a movie on the streaming service — Netflix, first, will give the movie a traditional, exclusive run in a large number of theaters. It didn’t happen.
Much later, and against the wishes of some Netflix employees and Mr. Johnson, a theatrical release of “Glass Onion” that some inside the company at one point hoped would reach 2,000 screens in the United States 638. The movie, which released on Wednesday to positive reviews, will play in theaters for just one week before becoming available on Netflix on December 23. What was supposed to be the moment that proved theater’s worth to the streaming giant? Still, the company is involved in another interesting theatrical experiment this weekend, which could provide Netflix with more valuable feedback.
On Friday, “Matilda the Musical,” financed and produced by Netflix, opens on more than 1,500 screens in 670 locations across the UK and Ireland. The movie, starring Emma Thompson as the villainous Miss Trunchbull, will be released and distributed by Sony Pictures, which licensed the rights to Netflix in a unique one-picture deal on the condition that Sony retain the UK for one theatrical run. Liberation. (“Matilda,” which is based on a stage musical that is itself based on a children’s book by Roald Dahl, is a favorite in the UK. The musical has been running in London’s West End since 2011.) “It would be a good thing to do.” example,” says Tim Richards, founder and chief executive of Vue International, a London-based exhibitor with theaters in countries including the UK, Denmark, Germany and Italy. “If ever there was a film made for the big screen, it’s ‘Matilda’.”