The movie industry is a behemoth that can throw millions and millions of dollars into talent and advertising and still earn their keep when a movie is finally released. We live in an age of blockbusters, an Age of Ultron, where intense action, monsters, superheroes, high fantasy, and military science-fiction reign supreme. However, could it be possible that this dynamo is afraid of something else? Can anything threaten the movie industry?
Enter Netflix. Video-on-demand has grown exponentially in the past few years and recently people have began whispering about it’s potential role in overtaking Hollywood. The concept isn’t impossible: Netflix’s early mailing service is what put businesses like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video off the street, and with Netflix’s first feature-length film Beasts of No Nation released October 16th, this may be the first step towards its next target.
Indie films can’t compete with big-budget films. They differences are too large to ignore. Studios can spend the cost of ten indie films on the marketing campaign one big-budget film without batting an eye, and they do. However, what if Netflix could steal away some of those films, both indie and big-budget, so that they are Netflix-exclusive? What if a movie could go directly to a subscription-holding consumer base without ever passing through a theater? Can Netflix even win Oscars? These are the questions that the movie industry is starting to realize, and that is exactly why they are boycotting Beasts of No Nation. However, assuming the success of Beasts of No Nation – which currently has a 90% approval rating on the review-aggregate, Rotten Tomatoes – this almost looks like the opposite approach. Rather than reject movies that go to Netflix, shouldn’t the movie industry woo them to gather audiences at the theaters? CEO Tim League of Alamao Drafthouse feels that they should, and will proudly be screening Beasts of No Nation in their locations.
Time will only tell who is right, who is wrong, and who is successful.
Beasts of No Nation is written, shot, and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, and stars Idris Elba, Kurt Egyiawan, and Abraham Attah. It is based off a novel of the same name written by Uzodinma Iweala. It was released by Netflix to subscription-holders on October 26th, 2015.