UPDATED with quotes from AMC & Cineworld CEOs: This is a big deal: For the first time, all three big exhibitors are on board with releasing a major Netflix title — that being the Rian Johnson-directed sequel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, the franchise that the streamer snapped up for nearly $400M as Deadline first told you. The movie will hit theaters on Wednesday, November 23, the day before Thanksgiving
As AMC Boss Adam Aron says about today’s deal, exhibition and Netflix have “cracked the code” to working together, while Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger is optimistic about greater things to come, exclaiming, “This experiment is a breakthrough for both the theatrical industry and Netflix and can pave the way for a stronger cooperation in the future as Netflix big budget movies for sure belong on the big screen first.”
Here’s the thing: It’s not a wide release, rather a 600 theaters booking in U.S. and Canada, plus additional markets overseas. It’s being billed by Netflix as a sneak preview run. Here are some of the terms: Knives Out 2 will play for one week, from Nov. 23-29, and then there will be a blackout period for the film in the remaining weeks before it hits Netflix on Dec. 23. Essentially a 30-day window, even though the theaters don’t have it for 30 days. Note, that with other Netflix theatrical releases, independent theaters have held their titles in subsequent weeks even though a title will go onto the service. It’s quite possible that if Knives Out 2 does some substantial business, it could be held over in the big chains — but that’s a wait-and-see at this point in time. We hear that Netflix will not be reporting box office figures for Glass Onion.
This is a monumental peace treaty between exhibition and Netflix. Cinemark has been a partner playing Netflix movies since theaters came back during the pandemic, however, going back to the rocky talks of the Martin Scorsese Netflix movie, The Irishman, it hasn’t always been a smooth road between the streamer, AMC and Cineworld. Netflix gets a notable theatrical launch in big cinemas for Glass Onion after the film received a huge response after its TIFF premiere with 90% on Rotten Tomatoes (the pic is already being buzzed for Oscars), and exhibition gets more movies during the Thanksgiving holiday week, which is a big time for moviegoing, especially on Black Friday. Lionsgate originally had the first Knives Out over Thanksgiving 2019 where it posted a 5-day opening of $41.4M and legged out to a $165.3M domestic gross.
Opening on Nov. 23, the Thanksgiving frame, is Disney Animation’s Strange World, Sony’s Jonathan Majors movie Devotion, Amblin/Universal’s The Fabelmans and MGM’s United Artists Releasing title Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All.
This deal went to down to the wire, we understand and has been in the works since the summer; Cineworld Boss Mooky Greidinger being a key driver. Coming away from the successful reception of the sequel at TIFF, we heard whispers that the movie was getting a wide theatrical release through a third party studio. Those rumors were promptly denied.
We are hearing there will be a committed theatrical marketing spend on behalf of Netflix, bigger than what they’ve done for their other theatrical films.
Said filmmaker Rian Johnson: “I’m over the moon that Netflix has worked with AMC, Regal and Cinemark to get Glass Onion in theaters for this one of a kind sneak preview. These movies are made to thrill audiences, and I can’t wait to feel the energy of the crowd as they experience Glass Onion. Between this and the release on Netflix in December, I’m excited that audiences around the world will be able to enjoy the film!”
Said Scott Stuber, Head of Global Film at Netflix: “We’re excited to offer fans an exclusive sneak preview of Rian’s incredible film. Given the excitement surrounding the premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, we hope fans will enjoy this special theatrical event in celebration of the film’s global debut on Netflix in December.”
Said Cineworld’s Greidinger, “We are happy to cooperate with Netflix in showing Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery in our cinemas. I believe that this experiment could mean a breakthrough for both the theatrical industry and Netflix and can pave the way for a stronger cooperation in the future, as Netflix big budget movies for sure belong on the big screen at first. The huge success of Knives Out and the great reactions to Glass Onion in the Toronto Film Festival makes us confident that the movie will have strong performance in cinemas”.
Adam Aron, AMC Chairman and CEO, commented, “This announcement of our first-ever agreement with Netflix is significant for AMC and for movie lovers around the world. As we have often said, we believe that both theatrical exhibitors and streamers can continue to co-exist successfully. Beyond that, though, it has been our desire that we find a way to crack the code and synergistically work together. By doing so, theatres will make more money by having more titles to show, and thanks to the larger cultural resonance those movies can gain from a theatrical release, they will wind up playing to a wider audience when they also are viewed on streaming platforms. Accordingly, we also have long said that we would welcome Netflix movies in our theatres with the proper agreements in place. This agreement that we have reached with Netflix for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is acceptable to AMC as it sufficiently respects the sanctity of our current theatrical window policy. We are hopeful that a successful screening in our theatres this Thanksgiving will lead to more co-operation between Netflix and AMC in the months and years ahead.”
Aron continued, “Rian Johnson’s original Knives Out was a wonderful film that delighted audiences in the United States and around the world, and was a real hit in our theatres. It’s only fitting that its follow-up, GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY, which also stars Daniel Craig and which is already garnering high praise from critics, will be available at more than 200 of our AMC locations around the country this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Given the global appeal of the first movie, we are also excited to announce that it will be available at many of our Odeon locations in Europe as well. We look forward to GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY, and we will endeavor to continue working with Netflix on future compelling titles that excite and engage theatrical audiences.”
Glass Onion will play offshore in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery sees Daniel Craig return as suave southern sleuth Benoit Blanc as he peels back the layers on a new mystery surrounded by a colorful coterie of suspects played by a star-studded cast that includes Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline with Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista. Johnson also wrote and produced alongside his partner Ram Bergman under their T-Street banner.