“The Irishman,” the much-anticipated Martin Scorsese film produced by Netflix, will get a theatrical release on November 1, starting in Los Angeles and New York. It will then debut on the streaming service about four weeks later, on November 27.
This follows a similar pattern to the release of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” last year, which saw Netflix (which had previously insisted that any theatrical run happen simultaneously with a film’s streaming debut) debuting the film in theaters three weeks before it came to streaming.
Netflix doesn’t report box office numbers, so it’s not clear how much money it’s making from these theatrical rollouts.
Regardless, committing to a real theatrical release helps Netflix attract big-name filmmakers like Scorsese and Cuarón, and it also gives them a better chance at winning awards. (“Roma” won three Oscars earlier this year, including Best Director, prompting a broader debate about whether streaming films should be eligible for Oscars.)
Deadline reports that the roughly four-week theatrical window was not enough to convince the major theater chains to sign up — apparently they’re concerned that if they give in to Netflix, the Hollywood studios will start demanding shorter theatrical windows too.
“The Irishman” stars Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran (a union official with ties to organized crime) and Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa (ditto). It will premiere at The New York Film Festival on September 27.
In addition to reuniting De Niro and Scorsese for the first time in two decades, and bringing Pacino and Scorsese together for the first time ever, the film is also noteworthy for its use of extensive special effects, so the actors are able to play younger versions of their characters.