Netflix may have missed out on winning its first Best Picture Oscar with "Roma," but the company is already gearing up for a second attempt with Martin Scorsese's upcoming "The Irishman."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the iconic director wants a wide release for his $125 million gangster drama — and Netflix is talking to theater owners about giving it to him.
But that means the streaming service will finally have to subject itself to something it's never experienced before: outsider knowledge of viewership numbers. Netflix would have to allow theater owners to report box office figures, which it did not do for the limited theatrical release of "Roma."
This led to grumbling on the part of some members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. A contingent of directors led by Steven Spielberg is advocating for a rule that would require a movie to have an exclusive theatrical window of at least four weeks to be eligible for major Oscars.
Netflix reportedly spent over $25 million on its Oscar campaign for "Roma" and still came away short, though the film did win Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Cinematography.
Still, a black-and-white non-English language film with no stars is a hard sell for Best Picture. "The Irishman," however, comes from a legendary director and features Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Netflix already aired a first, footage-less teaser during this year's Oscars ceremony.
If Netflix was willing to go so far with "Roma," it may have to change its ethos for a film with the pedigree of "The Irishman."
"Netflix wants a big footprint for The Irishman," an industry source told THR. "They've put themselves in a position by supporting these kinds of filmmakers where they have to come to grips with the theatrical business model and how it works."