It was recently reported that Netflix has been looking into buying their own theaters. An article by The Los Angeles Times says that Netflix even attempted to buy Landmark which is owned by Mark Cuban.
Although details of that deal are kept private, it appears to have fallen through because of cost, and not because of a change in plans. Which means we may still see Netflix purchase another chain, or a smaller set of independent theaters.
Why would Netflix want to do this? Well, it’s simple. Recently Steven Spielberg made a splash showing both his age and his protectionism when he said the following to ITV News.
“Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.” “You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.”
Netflix has had struggles with getting proper recognition from the greater film community. By owning their own chain of theaters they could do more fluid limited runs of their new films. Which would also guarantee they increase their chance of being recognized by The Academy.
Netflix could also use this opportunity to create new theater experiences, such as a ticket to an 8-hour screening for season 3 of Stranger Things. Binge theater days could be a new type of entertainment, similar to double or triple features, but designed around new content drops from Netflix.
Although the recent talks have ceased, it’s my guess that there may be others taking place soon. I don’t expect this to be the last we will hear of a possible Netflix theater buyout.