Who can beat a trip to the cinema? Any excuse to see the latest, ground-breaking blockbuster or the next critically acclaimed masterpiece. A cinema is a classic date night for young couples or a nice excuse to spend the evening with the ones closest around you. Netflix however, is breaking the norms of the cinema industry, releasing more and more high budget films to the internet streaming service, creating a new trend of throughout Hollywood.
Netflix original films have varied in quality; the first ever Netflix original which was released in 2015 was Beasts of No Nation, a critical success. It started a trend of lower budget films getting bought by Netflix and released on the internet streaming platform.
The impact of Netflix in the first two years of releasing films had been minimal, releasing mainly comedies and indie movies, with little critical impact. But this year the platform is adding eighty films to the filmography of original content, so what does this mean to the industry?
The Academy have boycotted the films by Netflix in the past (Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation was a travesty) but with Mudbound earning nominations this year it’s hard to ignore the progression Netflix is making.
Hotly anticipated films that have come out so far this year include the abysmal The Cloverfield Paradox, which like its predecessor got a surprise trailer and an immediate release. The Cloverfield Paradox had been bought by Netflix and after it had its trailer release during the Superbowl, it simultaneously dropped on the streaming service.
A bold move by Netflix, and although it has done poorly with critics and audience, the marketing and the way it was released was arguably very clever. Films such as The Outsider and Bird Box (starring Jared Leto and Sandra Bullock respectively, releasing this year) shows that huge stars are being pulled by Netflix, making the platform more competitive to the likes of the big six companies when buying the rights to films.
With films being available on Netflix from the start, where is the need to go to the cinema? Over 100 million people subscribe to Netflix, the service now seems a more viable option to release a film, with its accessibility it seems a more reliable way of getting a film seen by a large audience, rather than relying on ticket sales to judge on whether the film was successful. Netflix could really damage Hollywood distributors if production companies favour their platform.
The Tyneside Cinema is a wonderful experience; the rustic interior and lesser known films available makes it an independent film fans dream. However, popularity of the independent film is relatively low compared to the box office smash hits that earn Hollywood so much money.
With Netflix reaching out to so many people in so many countries, I encourage them to release many more films, as most of its original content is lower budget and experimental, giving a platform for films such as Cargo (a post-apocalyptic film starring Martin Freeman) to gain viewers. Netflix originals excite me; if they’re anything like Beasts of No Nation going forward, then we should welcome them.