The Netflix Paradox

Netflix has been a major force in home entertainment for some time now and the streaming giant has been premiering a line of exclusive movies. While a few have been produced in-house (most notably, the big-budget science fiction film BRIGHT), most are acquired from outside sources. Reception for Netflix Original Movies has been mixed overall because they have been a pretty mixed bag quality-wise. Many failed to find distribution through the usual channels and ended up at Netflix.

However, it would seem that the major studios, which view Netflix as a competitor in feature film distribution, are increasingly striking deals with it. In late 2016, the company premiered SPECTRAL, a $70 million science fiction epic originally to have been released by Universal. The company deemed the movie unworthy of theatrical play and sold it to Netflix. While its highly doubtful they recouped the full budget, the cost of marketing is so high these days, Universal likely would have lost even more putting SPECTRAL in theatres.

The same thought is apparently behind the premiere Sunday night of THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX. The first two CLOVERFIELD movies were considerably successful for Paramount, but this one kept having its release date changed. Out of nowehere, during the Super Bowl, a commercial announced that the film would be premiering on Netflix later that evening. It was a masterstroke of secrecy and provided a great amount of publicity for a movie that is garnering little praise.

Cash-strapped Paramount decided that the movie would nor warrant the distribution costs and sold it off, though, unlike SPECTRAL, THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX reportedly only cost between $5-10 million. It was also announced recently that another Paramount movie, ANNIHILATION, would now be handled by Netflix everywhere except America, Canada, and China. In contrast to what is being written about CLOVERFIELD, this one has apparently been deemed “too intellectual” for general audiences. Whatever the case, Netflix seems happy to take on major studio “problem children” and such an arrangement could continue to be profitable for everyone.