'The Irishman' Has Star-Studded Cast, But Netflix Is Forgoing Wide Cinematic Release

The cast of Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, and it cost $100 million to make. So why isn't Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) looking to release the film nationwide on the big screen before it stream

Benzinga · 11/08/2019 15:07

The cast of Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, and it cost $100 million to make.

So why isn't Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) looking to release the film nationwide on the big screen before it streams?

What Happened

Scorsese worked with De Niro and Pesci on the 1995 mob film "Casino," and the reunion in "The Irishman" would certainly attract large attention at the studio box office.

The film's big screen release is limited to theaters in New York, Los Angeles and a few other cities before it becomes available for all Netflix streaming customers Nov. 27, according to CNBC.

Netflix is only showing the film in theaters so it's eligible for Oscar awards. 

The ceremony's criteria include running at least seven consecutive days at a theater in Los Angeles County and showing three times a day. 

Why It's Important

Tickets to catch "The Irishman" in New York are selling between $65 and $85 each as "people line up to see a Scorsese movie," Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told CNBC. Netflix is certainly ignoring an opportunity to collect millions in extra revenue, but "that's not the model they are chasing," he said. 

Doug Stone, president of Box Office Analyst and a theater owner, told CNBC that Netflix could "certainly" recoup around half of the $100-million production budget in theaters.

"The Departed," a Scorsese-directed, mob-themed film, collected $132 million domestically and another $157 million internationally, he said. 

What's Next

Netflix's longer-term goal remains twofold: gaining new subscribers and convincing existing ones to remain with the platform, according to CNBC.

The strategy moving forward is consistent with its past practice of foregoing new monetization venues like extended theatrical releases and in-app advertisements.

Netflix shares were down 0.39% at $288.43 at the time of publication. 

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Photo courtesy of Netflix.