Ex Machina was good, wasn’t it? All robotty and interior designy and see-through-head-and-necky - good stuff, and universally praised. Well done Alex Garland, basically, well done on directing your first film being good. But much like difficult-second-album-syndrome, following up your big debut hit is notoriously hard - just look at Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko>Southland Tales), Simon West (Con Air>The General’s Daughter), Neill Blomkamp (District 9>Elysium), it’s a long list, basically.
Nevertheless, the hype is strong for Garland’s next flick - it’s got a great cast (Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac et al) and a promising trailer, which you can ‘cop’, as it were below:
See? Looks fun, doesn’t it?
Anyway, the film, adapted from the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s bestselling Southern Reach trilogy, is set for a theatrical release over in the US, Canada and China, but over here, over here in the good old YUH-OOH of K, it’s got a different path ahead. Essentially, Netflix are reportedly vying for the exclusive rights in international markets.
The reason for this seems to be that Ex Machina, although critically acclaimed, didn’t really bang hard at the international box office (it did alright in the US), so sending it straight to Netflix might be a more sensible option. This is the second film to debut on Netflix shortly after a US theatrical release - the upcoming Shaft sequel, starring Samuel L Jackson and Jessie T. Usher, is to do the same thing, with Netflix paying half of the film’s $30 million budget.
Chucking a film straight onto Netflix in overseas markets (everywhere but the US, Canada and China) is sometimes seen as a good idea, because not only do Netflix stump up a chunk of the budget, money that is normally spent on P&A (prints and advertising) is greatly reduced. So that’s physical film and digital files for cinema use and also the marketing costs involved in getting people to actually go and see the movie - hand it over to Netflix and they handle everything, easy.
Also, knowing that Netflix have $6 billion to spend on production and licensing next year, this type of thing will surely become more common in the future. For better or worse, I guess - it means our Netflix choices increase but it also means that some films that are meant to be seen on the big screen, won’t be able to - you know - be seen on the big screen. Shame.
(Image: Paramount Pictures)