Here’s a slightly technical news story that’s worth paying attention to: Netflix is making a Shaft reboot, and they’re going to break the movie mold in doing so.
Okay, so it’s not just Netflix that is in on this – New Line Cinema is going to be the production company behind Shaft’s revival, with Netflix merely paying for the majority of the filming.
Samuel L Jackson will be playing the titular Shaft, because of course he is, while the script is being written by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris, so this is going to be a fairly solid production with a lot of big names attached. This seems to increasingly be Netflix’s method of making prestige movies designed to give the company legitimacy on the film circuit.
What’s interesting, though, is that while Shaft will be released to movie theaters upon its initial release in the United States, part of the deal that Netflix has struck with New Line involves the streaming giant owning full distribution rights for the movie abroad, and that makes things interesting.
Two weeks after Shaft debuts in theaters, Netflix will offer it up to International customers on their streaming service. Americans will have to wait, but those who subscribe to Netflix around the rest of the world will be able to enjoy the movie in their homes, on tablets or televisions, without having to pay an extra penny.
Talk about a risky move!
This would only be possible with a movie like Shaft, which isn’t going to be too hugely expensive (clocking in at around $30 million compared with five to ten times as much for, a typical superhero blockbuster), and which probably won’t be a huge draw for many international viewers.
Nevertheless, this is an example of Netflix testing the waters, seeing whether it’s possible to run a streamed release alongside a cinematic rollout in theaters.
If this goes well, we could see the media giant employing a similar structure with other blockbusters – especially as the two week wait between the US theater debut and the international streaming release would allow Netflix movies to jump over the arbitrary barrier for entry to film festivals such as Cannes, which was set solely to try and exclude Netflix from future film selection.
It’ll be worth paying attention to Shaft as the movie develops.
After all, quite aside from anything else, this movie is probably going to be pretty darn good.