Netflix is giving theaters owners a Thanksgiving present.
The streaming giant announced on Thursday that “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” will be released in around 600 theaters across the United States for one week beginning on Nov. 23 before becoming available to stream around the world on Dec. 23.
The largest theater chains — AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark — have all agreed to the deal, a first for the top exhibitors. Cinemark has screened Netflix films in the past. But Regal and AMC have previously refused to work with the company because it would not agree to the exclusive theatrical release periods and financial terms that are usually offered by traditional studios. Terms of the deal for “Glass Onion” were not disclosed.
Yet the news now comes as a welcome relief to the industry after the past month, which saw theaters generate just $328 million in ticket sales. That was the lowest number in September since the same period in 1996, with the exception of the pandemic year of 2020. The original “Knives Out,” starring Daniel Craig as the quirky detective Benoit Blanc, was a sleeper hit n 2019. It cost $40 million to make and grossed $165 million in North American theaters and $311 million worldwide. It was considered a prime example of how studios could successfully release films based on original ideas in theaters.
But the chances of replicating that theatrical success seemed to be squashed last year when Netflix plunked down $465 million for the writer-director Rian Johnson to move his star-studded franchise to the streaming service for its next two iterations.
“I’m over the moon that Netflix has worked with AMC, Regal and Cinemark to get ‘Glass Onion’ in theaters for this one of a kind sneak preview,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement. “These movies are made to thrill audiences, and I can’t wait to feel the energy of the crowd as they experience ‘Glass Onion.’”
The raucous reception for the film at its debut at the Toronto Film Festival last month inspired Netflix to pursue a more expansive theatrical strategy than it has for other films.
Whether this development means that Netflix is willing to take a more traditional approach to theatrical distribution going forward remains to be seen. The streaming service said it also did not plan to publicly report how the film did at the box office during its weeklong run.
Also, Netflix has no intention of reporting its box office grosses for the stunt at the end of its one-week run.