Netflix will not give Martin Scorsese’s crime drama The Irishman a wide theatrical release. Cinema chains like AMC and Cineplex could not reach an agreement with the streaming service to run the film in theaters nationwide, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Right now, The Irishman is set to premiere on September 27th at the New York Film Festival. On November 1st, the film will open in select indie cinemas. A little over three weeks later on November 27th, it will debut on Netflix. The trouble here comes down to that shortened time window between theater screenings and streaming. Cinema chains insist on having 90 days between when a movie opens and when it is available on home entertainment. Occasionally, in the case of digital release, that window can be shortened to 74 or 76 days. With its current schedule, The Irishman has a brief 26 day window between its release in theaters and its streaming on Netflix.
Much like what happened with Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, many believe The Irishman’s brief theatrical window will hurt it come awards season. While Cuarón’s critical hit took home Oscars for Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film, it lost out on Best Picture to Green Book; many attributed the snub to a lack of box office gross, as the movie only screened for three weeks before hitting Netflix. If the same were to happen to Scorsese, it would be a big blow for the filmmaker, who has been nominated for Best Director eight times (more than any other living director), with an equal number of his movies earning Best Picture nods.
The Irishman stars heavy-hitters Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, and Joe Pesci, all of whom will be de-aged in the movie. Penned by Steven Zaillian, the movie centers around hitman Frank Sheeran (DeNiro) and Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) in a story adapted from Charles Brandt’s 2005 non-fiction novel, I Heard You Paint Houses…. It’s sure to be a film-buff hit, as Scorsese shot the movie on both film and digital.
It’s a shame that cinema chains don’t want in on Netflix’s deal. Maybe eventually that time will come. If one thing is certain, it’s that the streaming company is ready for that deal, especially given Netflix joined the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) earlier this year, becoming the first Internet-based company to do so.