Patrick Hipes reports: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was happy to have the fight Netflix found itself in with French theater chains this month at the Cannes Film Festival — it just gave his company’s two competition films Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories more exposure, he said today. He also doubled down against the exhibition business, again predicting the demise of theatrical windows.
The comments came during a session with Hastings at the Recode conference, where he also discussed the streaming service’s foray into movies — “TV and movies are actually very similar” to produce, he said — admitted Netflix brass overestimated the ability to crack the China market.
As for Cannes, where French exhibs pressured festival officials over the inclusion of the Netflix movies because Netflix doesn’t show its movies in theaters, Hastings said it only helped. “Yeah, It’ been fantastic for us, and most importantly for Okja and Meyerowtiz Stories, which are small films that are very artistic. This [controversy] will give them a lot more awareness.”
The films screened to positive reviews on the Croisette, notable since Hastings said the pair were selected to the official lineup on artistic merit.
As for those exhibitors’ theatrical windows, Hastings was as clear as ever about his vision of their future. They are “absolutely” breaking down, he said, adding “Ultimately, consumer choice is a very powerful force.”
“We’re in a transation period where the movie theater chains around the world are not willing to allow consumers to choose, but eventually they will,” he said. “So big movies will come out and they’ll be on Netflix and on Amazon … and also in theaters … (read more)