Netflix has considered purchasing cinema chains including Landmark Theaters, according to the Los Angeles Times. The story says the streaming giant is interested in acquiring movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York to give its films better chances at winning Oscars, which require theatrical distribution for consideration. But awards recognition seems unlikely to be the primary reason Netflix is interested in owning cinemas, especially given its recent tiff with the Cannes Film Festival.
A bigger motivation could be that owning theaters could give the Netflix a very easy way to get incremental revenue from original content it’s already funded, especially as it develops more big-budget, blockbuster-type films, like its recent Will Smith thriller “Bright,” that are really enhanced by the big-screen experience. Netflix could also have special binge-watching events for its TV series. Cinema chains have struggled recently, largely due to competition from companies like Netflix. But when you don’t have to pay half your ticket revenue to a separate distributor, the movie theater business is a lot more enticing.