Paramount COO Andrew Gumpert admits the studio sold The Cloverfield Paradox to Netflix over concerns about the movie's "commercial playability." The Cloverfield franchise has built its reputation on unconventional marketing tactics. The teaser trailer for the original didn't even reveal the title of the movie, leading to a feeding frenzy of audience interest for the mysterious movie. This teasing approach paid off big, with Cloverfield earning over $170 million on a modest budget.
Spiritual sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane didn't appear until 2016, and the studio again surprised audiences by suddenly dropping a trailer for the secret project only 2 months prior to release. Third instalment The Cloverfield Paradox appeared to be a troubled project from the outside; it was delayed numerous times, and rumors suggested Paramount weren't happy with it. In another savvy marketing move, the movie suddenly landed on Netflix, ensuring it huge numbers before reviews or word of mouth had time to kick in.
It turns out the studio made a deal with Netflix that saw them receive a reported $50 million in exchange for The Cloverfield Paradox. Now Variety report that Andrew Gumpert – Paramount's COO – addressed the deal during a recent keynote speech, revealing why the movie bypassed cinemas:
The movie was finished, we all reviewed it together with J.J. and his team. We all decided there were things about it that made us have a pause about its commercial playability in the traditional matter.
There was an ability for us to be fiscally prudent and monetize. For fans of Cloverfield, the fact is many, many more millions of people saw the movie. It's a positive on every level.
This statement seems to confirm reports prior to The Cloverfield Paradox dropping on Netflix that the studio was seriously worried about the movie's box office prospects. It was easily the most expensive entry of the series to produce, and many doubt the film would have recouped its budget if it was released theatrically. In a way, the Netflix move was the perfect gamble; the studio recouped the production budget, Netflix gained a high-profile exclusive and the franchise maintained its unusual approach to marketing.
Paramount also had a bruising year in 2017, with several high-profile bombs like Ghost In The Shell. In addition to The Cloverfield Paradox, the studio also netted a Netflix distribution deal for Annihilation overseas. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Cloverfield series moving forward. Reviews for Paradox have been mostly negative, which may affect turnout for the next movie Overlord, which is said to be a World War 2 adventure where U.S. soldiers fight a supernatural threat. Fantasy thriller Kolma - starring Daisy Ridley - is also rumored to be a stealth Cloverfield sequel.
- Overlord (2018) release date: Nov 09, 2018