EXCLUSIVE: A year ago at this time, a stink was raised by the studios and NATO over Netflix and its audacity to actually crunch the theatrical window with The Irishman. And a deal was on the table with AMC, but in the end, the streamer wanted a more limited time in theaters — far less than 45 days.
Fast-forward to now, and many wonder, well, what happens to Amazon and Netflix now with the WarnerMedia HBO Max theatrical day-and-date release of Wonder Woman 1984? Certainly they’ll push for their due in having the big circuits like AMC and Cinemark play their fare on a crunched or zero window. Why should Warner Bros. have all the fun?
Well, it’s sort of already happening. Cinemark and Netflix are testing a one-week run of The Christmas Chronicles 2, starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, before the pic’s Nov. 25 streaming date. True, not Wonder Woman 1984 big, but it’s a first for a big circuit to completely book a Netflix title (and not on a private theater-by-theater four-wall basis which sometimes occurs).
“In light of the current operating environment, we are making near-term booking decisions on a film-by-film basis,” a Cinemark rep tells Deadline. “We are pleased to collaborate with Netflix on this limited three-market test and show The Christmas Chronicles 2 in select Cinemark theatres.”
I hear that Christmas Chronicles 2 is playing in three markets, including Dallas and San Francisco, with the chain repping 50% of the sequel’s 32 locations. Atom-splitting times, indeed.
The Harkins chain, another abider of theatrical windows, also is allowing Christmas Chronicles 2, I understand.
As far as whether Wonder Woman 1984 breaks the dam and allows streamers to fully book their truncated theatrical titles nationwide, sources tell me that the Patty Jenkins-directed film is a one-off with the big circuits (Cinemark has yet to officially announce it is taking the title, but many are speculating that it will). Essentially, exhibition still holds the power to assert during normal economic times — when they come back — that they won’t play a theatrical day-and-date streamer title or shortened window.
But we’ll see. Everyone says this Wonder Woman 1984 theatrical streaming day-and-date experiment is a one-off — until it succeeds.