I know. At first sight, a Netflix movie theater might look like a weird idea. But think about it for a bit, and you will realize it wouldn’t be that bad. At least for part of the audience. The Annihilation gate is the living proof.
With Alex Garland’s movie, Netflix has deprived worldwide film lovers (US excluded) of watching on the big screen a movie with an outstanding visual impact. A problem that is generating a lot of noise and that could have a simple and immediate solution.
Netflix planetary success is a fact (even without a Netflix movie theater). The Company can count on more than 120 million worldwide subscribers, and they are all quite happy. The only critic that some people make to Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph (Netflix founders) is about screen monopolization. By acquiring Annihilation distribution rights outside of the US, Netflix prevented the movie to get into theaters and the international audience to enjoy it on a proper screen. A movie that, in order to be fully enjoyed, demands a proper screen dimension and quality.
Let’s see why:
It’s what the public is asking for. Annihilation is just the last example. The question was also raised at the last Cannes Film Festival, when the president of the jury, Pedro Almodovar, criticized the presence in the competition of Okja, a Netflix movie distributed exclusively in streaming. Truth is that among plenty of devices, users want to be able to enjoy a movie also on a big screen. Considering the increasing amount of content Netflix is producing, the issue can no longer be ignored.
Theaters need (real) spectators. A theater is a store and it needs customers. Now more than ever. Streaming gave the sector an hard time lately, and it should not be so difficult to find a way to make peace considering that each side has good cards to play. The owners of the theaters have their magic space available, Netflix has tons of content to show. Showcase the model with a multiplex franchise and the little ones will quickly follow.
The infrastructure already exists. To set up a Netflix movie theater you don’t need to build a Netflix movie theater. Buildings, screens, big chairs, and popcorn are already there. Considering that every Netflix user has a smartphone, it would be enough to let the owner verify the validity of the Netflix account through a QR code or something like that.
There is nothing new in this idea. Moviepass success comes on the same basis: people love to go to the movies. They just need the right motivation. A cheaper ticket, the ease of going anywhere at any time, or a new content are all good reasons. And with Netflix being also the movie producer the chain is even shorter and the margins higher.
The Omnichannel concept applied to the entertainment industry. Netflix is a pioneer in that.
So, why preventing people from watching a movie in the most beautiful way? While we wait for Hastings and Randolph to make their next move, you can all do as I did. Buy a projector, paint a wall in white and turn your living room into a movie theater.
But don’t make your friend pay more than their Netflix subscription. It would be unfair.