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A couple of days ago, things looked grim for The Little Prince, as it was yanked from theatrical distribution before this weekend's proposed release. However, in an eleventh hour twist of fate, the film has been picked up for future distribution on another platform. As of today, Netflix has picked up the exclusive rights to distribute the film.
The good news came from a story run by THR this evening, which stated that The Little Prince's fortunes had changed after previous distributor Paramount made the decision to shelve the animated film. No release date has been set for director Mark Osborne's latest animated hit, but the intention is to release the film to the public at some point before the end of the year. Strangely enough, this turnaround scenario couldn't have happened at a more interesting time.
With Netflix picking up steam in the realm of theatrical acquisitions, and the big Screening Room debate in full swing, there's a chance that the potential success of The Little Prince could make a substantial difference when it comes to how we see movies. If enough viewers flock to Netflix to take in the animated adventures of the French literary classic, there's a chance that Sean Parker and the folks backing his new theatrical VOD service will seize the opportunity to show how new releases delivered directly to your television aren't as outlandish as some would have you believe.
Of course, it helps that The Little Prince isn't hurting for monetary success, as it's already made the rounds on the international film-market. In fact, since its release last summer, the film has made $100 million in theatrical grosses, which would have given it quite the boost before its planned U.S. theatrical release. With that much money in the bank, and depending on how much Netflix bought the distribution rights for, there's a shot that the financial pressure will be non-existent for The Little Prince, pushing the focus to how well the film does as a streaming platform exclusive. Out of all of the things to worry about when thinking about a cancelled theatrical release, there are worse things to lose sleep over.
Perhaps the best thing about releasing a film like The Little Prince on Netflix, rather than in a traditional theatrical release, is the fact that more children will be able to see it as soon as it's released. Without having to drive to a theater, buy concessions, or find that right seat so your little one can see the movie perfectly, the viewing experience for parent and child will be all the more comfortable. With audiences satisfied in the comfort of their own homes, word-of-mouth could propel the film to a height greater than any theater experience ever could. We'll see what happens when The Little Prince lands its new release date, sometime later this year.