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    In a first, Netflix’s ‘Glass Onion’ to play in major chains

    Jake Coyle

    NEW YORK (AP) – For the first time, the major United States (US) theatre chains will play a Netflix release after exhibitors and the streaming service reached a deal for a nationwide sneak-peak run of Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

    Netflix announced last Thursday that AMC, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark will all carry the Knives Out sequel for an exclusive one-week run beginning on NovembEr 23, one month before it begins streaming on December 23.

    Up until now, those chains have largely refused to programme Netflix releases. But as theatrical windows have shortened from three months to frequently closer to 45 days, and streaming-only releases have sometimes lacked the buzz generated by moviegoing, Netflix and the chains finally found common ground.

    The deal stops short of a full theatrical release window for Glass Onion, which premiered last month at the Toronto International Film Festival and stars Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc. A wide release typically plays in more than 3,000 theatres in North America, but Johnson’s film will play in about 600 domestic theatres in addition to an international rollout.

    “Given the excitement surrounding the premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, we hope fans will enjoy this special theatrical event in celebration of the film’s global debut on Netflix in December,” said head of global film at Netflix Scott Stuber.

    This image released by Netflix shows, from left, Edward Norton, Madelyn Cline, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr, Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson, Janelle Monae, and Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.’ PHOTO: AP

    For months, negotiations between exhibitors and Netflix had centred around Glass Onion because of its box-office pedigree: Knives Out was one of the biggest original hits of 2019, grossing more than USD311 million worldwide in ticket sales for Lionsgate. After a bidding war, Netflix acquired two sequels for USD450 million. Johnson, too, had voiced interest in it playing widely theatrically.

    “This movie, above everything else, is designed to be a good time with a big crowd of folks in a theatre,” the director said in an earlier interview with The Associated Press.

    Last Thursday, Johnson celebrated, saying in a statement that he was “over the moon that Netflix has worked with AMC, Regal and Cinemark to get Glass Onion in theatres for this one of a kind sneak preview.”

    Chairman and chief executive of AMC Adam Aron said the first-ever agreement “sufficiently respects the sanctity of our current theatrical window policy.” Aron said he hoped it will lead to more cooperation between Netflix and AMC, the largest theatre chain.

    “As we have often said, we believe that both theatrical exhibitors and streamers can continue to co-exist successfully,” said Aron in a statement. “Beyond that, though, it has been our desire that we find a way to crack the code and synergistically work together. By doing so, theatres will make more money by having more titles to show, and thanks to the larger cultural resonance those movies can gain from a theatrical release, they will wind up playing to a wider audience when they also are viewed on streaming platforms.”

    Glass Onion revolves around tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton), who invites a small group of friends to his private island for a murder mystery party. The cast includes Janelle Monáe, Dave Bautista, Madelyn Cline, Kathryn Hahn, Kate Hudson, Jessica Henwick and Leslie Odom Jr.

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