Netflix could open its own movie theatres

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Netflix could be coming to a movie theatre near you, according to reports.

Anonymous sources told the Los Angeles Times that the streaming giant may be ready for the big screen, expressing a desire to purchase several movie theatres in the Los Angeles and New York areas.

This is reportedly a move to gain an Oscars edge – and potentially in Cannes – as to be eligible for a nomination to such awards, production houses must air their films in cinemas.

“Netflix wants to establish itself as a critical exhibition source on both coasts,” one source familiar with Netflix’s plans told the newspaper. “For awards consideration they need to be able to release pictures on screens in major markets.”

Speaking to Variety, Netflix Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, said that the recent rule changes in Cannes disallowing the likes of Netflix from receiving a nomination nod was a big deal for the streaming giant which produces hundreds of its own TV shows and movies.

“We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker… there’s a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival,” Mr Sarandos said.

In 2017, the Cannes Film Festival aired Netflix’s ‘Okja’ and ‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’, which was met with controversy. The following year, Cannes changed the rules, requiring all competition titles to receive theatrical distribution in France.

“The festival has chosen to celebrate distribution rather than the art of cinema… we are choosing to be about the future of cinema. If Cannes is choosing to be stuck in the history of cinema, that’s fine,” Mr Sarandos said.

Netflix has reportedly elected to tow the line, rather than fight it, according to anonymous sources. It is reported that the streaming giant pursued a deal to purchase the Landmark Theatres franchise, owned by Mark Cuban. Cuban currently also owns NBA team Dallas Mavericks.

Netflix reportedly dropped out of purchasing the theatres due to the high sale price.

The news comes at the same time as Netflix revealed it is creating ‘The Tinder of streaming’, with mobile users able to swipe through 30-second previews of shows before committing to watching one.

How big is Netflix?

Netflix is the number one streaming giant in the world, with more than 125 million subscribers, including about eight million in Australia, as of December 2017. Its closest streaming service rival in Australia is Stan, with about one million.

Netflix also has a huge budget, with $8 billion (USD) committed to creating its own shows, purchasing the rights to others and so on, this year alone.

Netflix is also a Canstar Blue ratings winner, with five stars for overall customer satisfaction and other key areas such as value for money, range of content and ease of sign-up.

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