IMAX Could End Up Showing Streaming Movies

Netflix's Roma
(Image credit: (Netflix))

Netflix has become a place for critically-acclaimed original television series to plant their roots, with last night's Emmy-winning titles such as The Crown, Black Mirror and Godless awarding the streaming service the most celebrated platform of the night. With the Oscars a few months away, Netflix has their own film hopeful in the running in the form of Alfonso Cuarón's Roma. While the moving Mexico-set drama is set to be available on Netflix this December, the film has been in talks to get an exclusive theatrical release beforehand. The film is now paving the way for more of its releases and those of other streaming services to get a chance to be shown on the IMAX platform as well before making their way to homes.

According to Business Insider, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond said that the company is in "active discussion" with streaming services regarding getting their original content on the large-format screen. The discussions would have the streaming services adhering to the exclusive 90-day theatrical window currently in place for all other theatrical releases, meaning a Netflix film wouldn't be available at home while it's in theaters. In 2016, Netflix and IMAX previously struck a deal together when their Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel, Sword of Destiny, was shown on the large-screen format in select theaters in California and New Jersey during the film's opening weekend.

For a film such as Roma, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who was previously recognized by the Academy for his nominated films Y Tu Mamá También, Children of Men and Gravity, the film would be taken more seriously if audiences experienced it in IMAX. Cuarón shot Roma digitally on 65mm, has beautiful black and white cinematography and tells a tear-jerking story inspired by his own memory of living in Mexico City during the political turmoil in the '70s. The movie recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews. Netflix's last hopeful, Beasts of No Nation, was snubbed by the Academy, possibly because it was solely released for Netflix streaming.

As Netflix and other streaming services have dabbled more into creating highly-esteemed content, giving their movies a stint on large formats seems like a distinct possibility. Upcoming Netflix releases such as Martin Scorsese's The Irishman and the Bright sequel starring Will Smith might benefit from getting IMAX theatrical releases instead of just going straight to streaming. Amazon Studios has been putting their produced films like The Big Sick and Manchester by the Sea to the big screen before making them available for Amazon Prime subscribers, paving the way for their releases to receive award recognition.

Streaming services are hard at work constantly producing content for their monthly subscribers, so much so that they can get lost in the queue. Offering some of their exciting projects on a large-format before it makes its way on the platform could make some of their titles more memorable and buzzworthy.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.