At tiff in September, I saw a small interesting film, Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation which opened to rave reviews at the Venice and tiff, the kind of movie Cinemagique regularly programmes. The next thing I knew, Netflix had bought world rights, and it disappeared out of sight. No release, no reviews, no screenings. About a month ago, it popped up on Netflix – all 70 million subscribers getting access. In retaliation, all the big American theatre chains, boycotted the release of Beasts on their screens. No one cared.

Some thoughts about Netflix:

  • Netflix is every movie lovers’ future.
  • It provides on-demand Internet streaming to all of Australia, New Zealand, South America, Japan, North America and parts of Europe (Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland and United Kingdom). 70 million subscribers.
  • Netflix is presently screening many of the films we presented over the past 12 months.
  • Netflix gives its subscribers top quality movies and shows they can’t see anywhere else. Its TV productions–nominated for 34 Emmys this year–are elaborate ads for the Netflix brand. Watch for Oscar nominees next month.
  • Still to come in the next month: Adam Sandler’s Ridiculous Six; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend as well as Pee Wee’s Big Holiday. None of these films will get to movie screens. None of these films, Cinemagique will have access to.
  • Streaming is the new global reality. The Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto,”grossed $2.6 million in North American movie theaters alone, with an estimated audience of 113,000, streamed into more than 800 movie outlets. An additional 125,000 saw the broadcast on 900 screens in 30 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Russia and Latin America.
  • Baseball’s video-streaming of all its games is a skill set in very high demand.
  • But more than style or premise, it’s the Netflix business model that has scared the knickers off Hollywood, an empire, to be honest, that has never been very good at technology and really struggles with large scale. Hollywood, for example, took a pass when TV, emerged in the 40s.
  • The threat for Cinemagique is that low-budget movies, like Beasts of No Nation, bypass theatrical release altogether, streaming directly to Netflix subscribers before we even know of their existence on Netflix.
  • That, I dread is Cinémagique’s future: Netflix as a humungous Godzilla – devouring every up-market, smart movie every day;. Plus as a cinematheque – 8 Coen Bros. movies are presently showing.
  • Netflix is but the beginning: Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, Hulu Plus, Amazon Studios, CBS and Now TV all American-driven, are planning similar services. Hollywood as we know it, is under siege.

My recommendation certainly to all Cinemagique members to subscribe Netflix. We certainly hope to have Cinemagique for years to come, but if we don’t have quality movies from week to week, our future is very much upon us.