Steven Spielberg recently stated that he didn’t think Netflix original movies should qualify for the Academy Awards, because ultimately, they are TV movies, regardless of budget.  In the last couple of years, the streaming giant has opened a few of their more highbrow movies in an extremely limited manner in theaters in order to qualify for the film industry’s highest honor and earlier this year it paid off when the documentary ‘Icarus’ became the first Netflix original to win an Oscar.  Netflix also earned seven other nominations including four for the scripted film ‘Mudbound’.

But Spielberg and surely others still don’t feel that Netflix original movies should qualify, even those that were made to be shown in theaters only for their studios to opt instead to send them to Netflix– usually because they don’t think these movies will do well in theaters.  (See: ‘Annihilation’)  So Netflix appears to be willing to play by the rules.

Insiders say that Netflix is looking to buy their own theaters in order to present their originals the traditional way.  Word has it, the streaming service is eyeing movie houses in New York and Los Angeles.  At one point, insiders say that Netflix was in discussions to buy the Legendary theater chained, based in LA and owned by mogul Mark Cuban, but passed because the asking price was too high.

Currently, Netflix is actively blocked by many major theater chains because these theaters see the streaming service as a threat.  They were also recently prevented from presenting their projects at the Cannes Film Festival because the prestigious festival requires any film shown have a deal in place to open in theaters in France.

While Netflix is valued at $130 billion, don’t expect them to go after a major cineplex chain.  If they acquire theaters, expect them to be similar to Legendary which focuses on indie and foreign films, the likes of which tend to appeal to the Academy.  After all, because of how many people– especially young ones– have Netflix, it’s highly unlikely that these theaters will generate much (if any) profit.  It’s just a way to attract attention.

What do you think?  Is it wise for Netflix to buy their own theaters?

Source: LA Times