Netflix’s ‘Okja’ To Get Theatrical Release | Film News


Amid controversy, Netflix has adjusted their distribution plan. With releases from the streaming service, Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories, having been included in the Cannes Film Festival, many were upset that the films wouldn’t have a theatrical release. Netflix later revealed that a theatrical release for Okja will happen in director Boon Jong-Ho‘s native South Korea, as well as UK and US releases.


Friday, June 28 will see the film released to Korean cinemas, while arriving on Netflix a day later. This has been an issue Netflix has been grappling with after seeing their Original Film content be received rather poorly, with titles often getting lost in the shuffle on personal Netflix pages, while rival Amazon found huge success by releasing Manchester By The Sea theatrically.


Netflix Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, told reporters that the company is “very proud to partner” with Next Entertainment World “to also give Korean viewers an opportunity to see the film in theatres at the same time”, while adding, “distribution is something that will be argued for many years, because innovation is difficult”.


As Netflix’s Original Films only get bigger – this year marks a significant jump from independent dramas and Adam Sandler comedies to big budget films such as War Machine starring Brad Pitt and Bright starring Will Smith – the conversation on their distribution methods will only continue.


Does a blockbuster such as Bright deserve a bigger, more marketed cinema release or are Netflix content to let huge films potentially get lost in the shuffle of their service?


Boon Jong-Ho doubts that streaming will replace theatres: “this incident is just a process of finding out the best way for them to co-exist. There are many ways we enjoy movies. They said that movies would become obsolete after TV came out, but they still co-exist”.


Okja stars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, An Seo-hyun, Byun Hee-bong, Choi Woo-shik and Yoon Je-moon, and is a sci-fi film that tells the story of a young girl attempting to prevent a multinational company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja.


2017 could be a year we look back on as a time where streaming changed cinema forever if Netflix’s strategy succeeds, or it might see them permanently shifting their distribution plan to a more traditional one. We’ll wait and see.



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