Netflix Mulls Releasing ‘Roma’ In Theaters Ahead Of Streaming Date


EXCLUSIVE: The details aren’t final but we’re hearing buzz that Netflix is putting together a plan that would have Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma in a select U.S. city theatrical run two weeks prior to its December streaming date.

If executed, the move would be unprecedented for Netflix, which to date has been largely known to release their feature awards caliber fare simultaneously day and date on their streaming service and in select theaters.

This is a change-up from the initial plans we heard whereby Roma, Mexico’s Oscar foreign language film entry, was to stream day and date on Netflix with a select city theatrical run on Dec. 14. We understand that prime theatrical venues are hard to nab on that weekend given the flood of major studio releases in the year-end holiday corridor. As such, Netflix is supposedly going earlier with the Participant movie, with an expected theatrical release date on Nov. 30 that’s more than Los Angeles and New York but smaller than 12 cities stateside.

Again, all the details aren’t final. During a recent Netflix shareholder meeting there was an announcement that Roma would have a theatrical release along with day and date streaming in December on 100 screens worldwide.

We understand that Landmark and Alamo Drafthouse locations are still in the mix as far as Roma‘s play, particularly the latter’s Dolby Atmos venues. Reportedly, it’s important to Gravity Oscar winner Cuaron that the black and white subtitled movie be played in Dolby Atmos venues. There could even be a mini-platform here as Roma is currently scheduled to hit Landmark theaters on Dec. 14.

In regards to Imax playing Roma, we hear that’s not in the cards. The big screen exhibitor is a big respecter of the theatrical window and their holiday lineup is filled with such event pics like Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Nov. 16); Universal’s Mortal Engines on Dec. 14; and Warner Bros.’ Aquaman on Dec. 21.

Also, Netflix is four-walling theaters for Roma, which means that it’s literally renting them one by one. This isn’t a traditional theatrical release whereby the exhibitor splits the box office with the distributor.

Netflix did not respond to comment for this article.

After playing a number of fall film festivals including Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York, Roma has moved critics greatly: the movie currently has a 99% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Netflix’s Paul Greengrass drama 22 July dropped on streaming and played theatrical on Oct. 10. The Coen Brothers’  The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is also planned to have a theatrical and streaming day and date on Nov. 16. There is buzz that the advance theatrical tee-off may not just pertain to Roma, but other feature Netflix movies as well. Stay tuned.

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