Netflix has announced theatrical and streaming release dates for several Fall 2019 films. Last year was a pivotal one for the streamer, as far as its efforts to compete in the annual movie awards season are concerned. They ended up taking home several Oscars for Alfonso Cuarón's memoir Roma (including, a win for Best Director), after releasing it in theaters ahead of its launch on the streaming service. This was all the more important when it comes to Netflix's ongoing attempts to extend an olive branch to theater chains that are wary of screening the company's original features at all.
After only showing three of its films in theaters in 2018 (Roma, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Bird Box), Netflix will continue to build bridges with distributors by screening ten movies in theaters over the next four months. Earlier today, in fact, Netflix announced Martin Scorsese's The Irishman will open in theaters in early November, before it premieres on the streamer a few weeks later. Now, it has set theater and streaming dates for nine other Netflix Originals coming this fall.
In addition to The Irishman (opens theatrically November 1; hits Netflix on November 27), Variety is reporting that Netflix has set dates for Steven Soderbergh's Panama Papers drama The Laundromat (opens theatrically September 7; hits Netflix October 18), Craig Brewer's Blaxploitation biopic Dolemite Is My Name (opens theatrically October 4; hits Netflix October 25), David Michôd's Shakespearean epic The King (opens theatrically October 11; hits Netflix on November 1), and Noah Baumbach's relationship drama Marriage Story (opens theatrically November 6; hits Netflix on December 6). Netflix Originals Earthquake Bird, Klaus, I Lost My Body, Atlantics, and The Two Popes will also roll out into theaters before streaming over the next four months.
The Irishman, The Laundromat, Dolemite Is My Name, Marriage Story, and The King have all kicked off their marketing by now and will premiere on the festival circuit, ahead of their theatrical and streaming release dates. These five films specifically are expected to serve as Netflix's primary contenders in this year's awards race, so the streaming service is hoping to generate some strong buzz with their showings at the annual prestigious festivals in Toronto and Venice over the next month. Roma actually took home the Golden Lion prize at last year's Venice Film Festival, which just goes to show this approach has worked wonders for Netflix in the past. Of course, only time will tell if they repeat that success in 2019.
Netflix's decision to release these films in theaters before streaming them further proves they're willing to play ball with theater chains. Companies like AMC and Regal have refused to show Netflix's movies in the past (since they don't adhere to the traditional 90-day window between their films releasing in theaters and becoming available to stream), so this move could be the initial step towards a more permanent compromise between the streamer and the larger movie distribution industry. Then again, if things don't work out, Netflix could decide to follow Amazon's lead and begin shortening the time between their films hitting theaters and streaming in the future (as Amazon intends to do with this year's The Report and The Aeronauts). Stay tuned for updates on that front.