When Hollywood studios reject a movie, Netflix is ready to step in to pick up the slack. According to the Wall Street Journal, that’s part of the streaming service’s strategy to expand from original television series to feature films.
The first of which includes “Beasts of No Nation,” which launched simultaneously on Netflix and in a few theaters in the U.S. over the weekend of Oct. 16. Netflix forked over $12 million for the film -- about double its production budget, according to Variety. While the film is available to its 69 million global subscribers, its physical-theater audience is much smaller. That’s in part because theater chains such as AMC and Regal have chosen to boycott the film because of its simultaneous debut online.
But that isn’t stopping Netflix from taking on additional films. After “Beasts of No Nation,” the streaming service is expected to distribute at least three more films, including Adam Sandler’s “The Ridiculous Six,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend” and Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.”
Regardless of how “Beasts of No Nation" performs in the few theaters it’s showing at, part of the reason why Netflix is screening it in theaters may be that films are required to have a seven-day run in Los Angeles to qualify for an Academy Award nomination.
Amazon is reportedly taking a slightly different approach, with films that will premiere in theaters, followed by a delayed home release, according to the Washington Post.
But while Netflix is hoping that original content will be its savior, Wall Street wasn’t too pleased when it revealed the company's subscriber growth in the third quarter. According to its quarterly filings, the streaming service took on only 880,000 U.S. subscribers, well below its forecast of 1.15 million. Overseas Netflix had better luck, with 2.74 million international subscribers, above the Wall Street estimate of 2.4 million.