Netflix to give ‘The Irishman’ exclusive theatrical release

  • This image released by Netflix shows Joe Pesci, left, and Robert De Niro in a scene from “The Irishman.” Netflix said Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019 that “The Irishman” will open theatrically Nov. 1 and begin streaming on Nov. 27. (Niko Tavernise/Netflix via AP)

NEW YORK — Netflix will give “The Irishman” an exclusive theatrical release for about four weeks, providing theaters most of November to play Martin Scorsese’s big-budget crime epic before it lands on the streaming service.

“The Irishman” will open theatrically Nov. 1 and begin streaming on Nov. 27, Netflix said Tuesday.

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The release plans for one of Netflix’s most expensive films yet had been a subject of much conjecture ever since the steaming service greenlit Scorsese’s film. The director is one of the most ardent proponents of cinema preservation, but Scorsese earlier told The Associated Press that he signed up with Netflix without any condition of a theatrical release.

“The Irishman,” which includes extensive de-aging visual effects to make its star-studded cast — including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci — appear decades younger in some scenes, cost Netflix $160 million to make. The film, about hitman and Jimmy Hoffa associate Frank Sheeran, will open the New York Film Festival on Sept. 27.

Late Tuesday, the festival disclosed the film’s lengthy runtime on its website: 210 minutes.

Because of the film’s pedigree, theater owners had lobbied Netflix to give “The Irishman” a traditional, wide release. But the major theater chains, including AMC and Cinemark, have refused to play movies that don’t adhere to the standard 90-day exclusivity window. Netflix instead has said the film will be released in select theaters.

Netflix last fall first began releasing certain titles in theaters first, beginning with Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” the Coen brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and the Sandra Bullock thriller “Bird Box.” This fall, they will expand that strategy to more films and, in some cases, elongate theatrical runs to about four weeks.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences earlier this year contemplated a new rule stipulating a four-week exclusive run in theaters before ultimately deciding not to amend their rules for next year’s Oscars. On its way to several Academy Award wins, “Roma” played solely in theaters for just over three weeks.

Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers satire “The Laundromat,” with Meryl Streep, will open Sept. 27 in U.S. theaters and premiere Oct. 18 on Netflix. The Eddie Murphy-led “Dolemite Is My Name” will hit theaters Oct. 4 and begin streaming three weeks later.

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David Michod’s Shakespeare adaptation “The King,” with Timothee Chalamet as Henry V, will play theatrically Oct. 11 and debut on Netflix Nov. 1. Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, will open Nov. 6 and land on Netflix Dec. 6. “The Two Popes,” with Jonathan Pryce playing Pope Francis and Anthony Hopkins as his predecessor, Pope Benedict, will open Nov. 27 before a Dec. 20 Netflix premiere.

All of the above titles will make their premieres at the fall’s top film festivals in the coming weeks.

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