Rich Gelfond, the CEO of Imax Corporation, has expressed strong criticism towards Netflix, highlighting the streaming powerhouse’s ongoing reluctance to embrace theatrical releases. “[Netflix’s strategy] is flawed. It doesn’t work,” he said in Cannes on Wednesday.
“Remember Netflix said they would never do advertising ever, ever ever… and now they’re doing advertising,” he added on the streamer’s U-turn on that issue. “When Netflix sees how well [Killers Of The Flower Moon] does when they see how well [Ridley Scott’s] Napoleon does theatrically, and not just theatrically but on streaming, I think eventually they will change their minds,” he opined.
Napoleon is set to have its worldwide exclusive release in theatres in collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment, followed by a global streaming debut on Apple TV+. Additionally, Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated film, Killers Of The Flower Moon, will have its theatrical release worldwide through Paramount before becoming available for streaming on Apple TV+. The movie will have its world premiere on Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival.
Gelford explained that Imax was willing to partner with streamers and is already collaborating with Amazon on a documentary about the Navy and Marine Corps flight squadron The Blue Angels. The movie is currently being shot using Imax technology.
“It enabled us to have a much bigger budget to make a much better, high-quality theatrical film and then make a very positive streaming experience,” Gelfond said.
His “dream” is for the likes of Netflix to work with him on “Imax only” releases in the near future. “Imax is not like a niche business. It could generate a lot of a box office,” Gelfond added.