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The presence of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu fundamentally changed film distribution in a major way. Though the big screen used to be the only place to debut a feature, these online platforms have created avenues for smaller movies to avoid competing with projects from the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the DCEU. In fact, with the Netflix release of his new indie film Sun Dogs, Xzibit spoke to CinemaBlend and compared Hollywood's quick shift to streaming to the music industry's slower adoption of the technology. The musician-turned-actor addressed Hollywood's transition to the streaming landscape and explained:
Don't candy coat it. If it's not a fucking superhero or horror movie they're not going to the theater... If you look at what's happening with film and television, it's the same thing that happened with the music industry. They weren't prepared to go from CDs to streaming and digital downloads and they took their time doing it, so the music industry suffered because of that. The movie industry is not making that same mistake and going to this platform, which goes to a broader reach and it goes to more households than people that don't have time or the income to go ahead and take five or six people in their family to the movie theater, so this is a definite positive step towards this film being seen by as many eyeballs as possible.
For those of you who are old enough to remember the shift from CDs to streaming platforms, Xzibit's remarks will likely make a certain degree of sense. The music industry was hesitant to make the transition to digital platforms, which resulted in some serious growing pains. Now, with that lesson in mind, Xzibit seems to think that Hollywood has learned from that transition, and has started to actively embrace the process of debuting smaller films on Netflix while movies like Black Panther or Star Wars: The Last Jedi continue to dominate. In the face of declining theater attendance, this is a major advantage for smaller films.
Directed by Warrior actress Jennifer Morrison, Sun Dogs tells the tale of a young man's futile effort to join the military and save lives in the wake of 9/11. By its very nature, the film is small in scope and style, which fundamentally makes it hard to compete with a "fucking superhero or horror movie" in a theatrical setting. However, Netflix affords the folks behind Sun Dogs a chance to debut it globally on one day, and the film's perpetual presence on the streaming platform removes the need for traditional metrics like opening weekend box office performance. In basic terms, Netflix gives a small movie like this a fighting chance to be seen.