For the last several years, Netflix has been pushing out a slew of original content, first in the realm of TV and more recently in the realm of movies. Although there's been some push and pull between the subscription streaming service and movie theaters, Netflix is now at least joining the MPAA.
This is a big deal for several reasons. First, joining the Motion Picture Association of America is big given that Netflix and the movie industry as a whole have seemed at odds at various points over the past several years. It's also the first time a non-major movie studio has joined the MPAA.
The other big thing that the MPAA is responsible for is rating movies in the United States based on a G, PG, PG-13, R, or NC-17 scale. Currently, there seems to be no general consensus with how Netflix rates movies.
Sometimes Netflix rolls with the type of system that TV uses for all of its originals, movies included. So, if you look at a title like Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss' The Last Laugh, you'll see it listed as something like TV-MA. If you look at a title like Bird Box, it's Rated R. It's all very weird and somewhat confusing. It could have to do with festival distribution, theatrical releases and purchased films versus films produced in house, but the average person using Netflix probably wouldn't know anything about that.
The report doesn't say if Netflix will be fully switching to an MPAA ratings format, but streamlining movies would make sense.
Joining the Motion Picture Association further exemplifies our commitment to ensuring the vibrancy of these creative industries and the many talented people who work in them all over the world.
Currently talks are still underway with the streamer, and THR also reports that after the Fox and Disney deal goes through, the MPAA may also be courting other new members. Amazon is listed as another potential option to join.
Netflix recently cemented its place in awards ceremony consideration with Roma, the new movie from Alfonso Cuaron which has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards. Late in 2018, Netflix started to change its mind about releasing movies into theaters first, giving releases like Roma, Bird Box and the Ballad of Buster Scruggs windows in theaters.
Some theaters are still boycotting Netflix releases, however, preferring to run movies that have a 90-day window between theatrical and home releases.
For some Netflix movies, a big screen really isn't needed for viewing, but for others where cinematography or spectacle are more important, a theatrical release may prove helpful to fans. Now, as Netflix joins the MPAA, it will be just one step even closer to respectability within the movies landscape. In the meantime, take a look at what the streaming service has coming up.