By Frank Pallotta, CNN Business
Netflix is going to the movies, but only for a week.
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” the new whodunit starring Daniel Craig, will debut at the three major US theater chains — AMC, Regal and Cinemark — for a week one month before it streams on Netflix, the company announced on Thursday. “Glass Onion” will be the first film to ever to do so, according to the streaming giant.
The sequel to the 2019 hit “Knives Out” will play in 600 theaters in the United States from November 23 to 29 before debuting on Netflix globally on December 23.
The news is notable given the fraught relationship between theaters and Netflix in the past. While some of the streamer’s films have played in theaters, most major chains have balked at putting Netflix’s films on the big screen since the two sides could never agree on how long a film should play exclusively in theaters.
The move to put “Glass Onion” in theaters, even for just a week, is a win for both sides.
For Netflix, theaters will likely help turn the film into an event, with the potential of giving it far more cultural relevancy than if it just played in homes. It can also build word of mouth for the movie, which has gotten rave reviews after premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival last month.
The film would play only for a week in theaters, but it’s an *exclusive* week. If you want to see “Glass Onion,” a month early you’ll have to buy a ticket, which could bring in more foot traffic and boost concession sales to theaters.
“We’re excited to offer fans an exclusive sneak preview of Rian’s incredible film,” Scott Stuber, Netflix’s head of global film said in a statement on Thursday. “Given the excitement surrounding the premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, we hope fans will enjoy this special theatrical event in celebration of the film’s global debut on Netflix in December.”
Director Rian Johnson added that he is “over the moon that Netflix has worked with AMC, Regal and Cinemark to get Glass Onion in theaters for this one-of-a-kind sneak preview.”
“These movies are made to thrill audiences, and I can’t wait to feel the energy of the crowd as they experience ‘Glass Onion,'” he said. “Between this and the release on Netflix in December, I’m excited that audiences around the world will be able to enjoy the film.”
Tickets go on sale on October 10.
It’s not clear if this is a one-time only arrangement or a first step for theaters and Netflix.
If it’s the latter, it could help both sides. Netflix, which has had a rough year, could use theaters’ help in giving its films greater impact and an additional revenue stream while theaters, which had a solid summer at the box office before seeing its slate dry up in the last few months, could use more movies.
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