(PIX11) — Streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu have already caused the demise of video stores like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, and some may argue that the lifespan of cable television is coming to an end as well.
But, could box offices be next?
Comedy veteran Adam Sandler has signed a deal to produce and star in four films that will stream exclusively on Netflix.
“When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only. . . . Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks,” Sandler said in a news release. “Let the streaming begin!!!!”
The move could be quite the game-changer in entertainment, coming hot off the heels of the success of Netflix original series “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” both of which were nominated for multiple Emmys two years in a row. Talk show host Chelsea Handler also left her popular gig at E! to join the streaming site for the first-ever on-demand talk show.
If successful, it could disrupt the business formula Hollywood has been working with for decades. To allow for maximum profit, big-budget, high-potential films always went to theaters first, later traveling through a rigid schedule of staggered releases on DVD, cable and streaming sites.
Netflix wants to reverse the process and could soon be touted as an established studio. Before its rise, no tech company had the clout to draw A-listers with the means to distribute films directly to consumers.
Theater companies criticized Netflix and the Weinstein Co., which brokered the deal for the sequel for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” to stream simultaneously on Netflix and in participating IMAX theaters. The original movie made $213.5 million world-wide.
“We will not participate in an experiment where you can see the same product on screens varying from three stories tall to three inches wide on a smartphone,” said Regal Cinemas spokesman Russ Nunley. The company operates 573 theaters and 7,341 screens nation wide.
“The moviegoing experience is evolving quickly and profoundly, and Netflix is unquestionably at the forefront of that movement,” Harvey Weinstein said in a statement.
Netflix has garnered more than 50 million subscribers who pay about $9 a month. With New Yorkers paying an average of $12.75 per movie ticket (the most expensive in the country), theaters could very well be a thing of the past — with viewers choosing to stay home in comfort instead of venturing out to overpay on everything from popcorn to M&Ms.
After last year’s polar vortex and with winter fast approaching, the second option sounds much more appealing.