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For the boss of American cinemas, the future of Netflix is ​​in dark rooms


The man who also organizes the CinemaCon festival in Las Vegas, which is currently taking place, keeps repeating that, contrary to what the ominous birds of the sector want to say, the streaming giant is not going to cause the disappearance movie theaters, big screen movies and popcorn.

Now that the medium is beginning to recover from the blows inflicted by the pandemic and that Netflix has just recorded its first reduction in subscriptions in more than 10 years, cinemas could even help the platform to adapt to a uncertain future, according to Mr. Fithian.

Release films in the cinema first, a possible avenue?

John Fithian says he had many talks with Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos for urge him to try to see if they couldn’t also do well in cinemas.

I don’t care about the stock price one way or the other. I’m just looking at the stats… Even if you’re streaming, you can make more money if you release your best movies in theaters firsthe mentions.

Release films on the big screen before making them available to subscribers to the service? The idea seems the opposite of the business model chosen by Netflix, which major studios like Disney and Warner have frantically tried to emulate in recent years by launching their own streaming platforms.

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After renting DVDs by post, Netflix had revolutionized the entertainment market by hiring Hollywood stars and talents to produce films and series to watch at home.

But the net loss of 200,000 subscriptions in the first quarter announced last week panicked Wall Street, where Netflix’s stock fell 30%.

The platform, which anticipates a drop of two million subscriptions in the second quarter, has already announced the implementation of new strategies to curb the phenomenon, including previously unthinkable solutions, such as cheaper subscriptions, but with advertisements. .

A practice deadaccording to John Fithian

In this context, the release of Netflix films in the cinema before their arrival on the platform would no longer seem so absurd, according to John Fithian. The latter said this week that the fashion of putting films simultaneously in cinemas and on online platforms on the same day, inaugurated during the pandemic, was dead.

It didn’t come out of nowhere. I said that after consulting with many of our studio partnershe told Agence France-Presse.

For now, the platform is content to show its films in a small number of theaters in order to satisfy the rules of the Oscars and other film awards.

But John Fithian thinks that Netflix’s model could evolve towards an increased presence in cinemas. We hopeunderlines the president of the organization, which says to represent some 35,000 screens in the United States.

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A theatrical release allows a film to stand out better while the studios that go straight to streaming get losthe pleads.

Back to a window of exclusivity for cinemas

The mood among theater owners in Las Vegas is noticeably better than at the previous CinemaCon, held in August 2021, when the latest variant of COVID-19 spooked audiences and studios bypassed theaters to release their films directly to streaming platforms.

Major US studios recently announced they are returning to an exclusivity window for films in theaters, although they have reduced that period to 45 days from around 90 before the pandemic.

Despite this improvement and the outstretched hand to Netflix, cinemas still have reason to worry.

Concern of cinemas around Amazon Prime

John Fithian says so to himself very worried from another streaming giant, Amazon Prime. According to him, the economic model of this platform is not to make money with moviesbut rather to attract customers so that they shop and go through its delivery service. Amazon Prime has just bought MGM studios, which notably produce James Bond films, for 8.45 billion US dollars.

If Amazon Prime wants to remove films from cinemas to distribute them only at home, it reduces consumer choice and competitionlaments John Fithian.

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