Netflix Partners With iPic for Theatrical Release of Original Films

Netflix has been slowly conquering the entertainment world bit by bit. Having proven their commitment to making ambitious, award-winning television like House of Cards, they’ve expanded into producing original films as well. Several of those films, such as the war drama Beasts of No Nation, have been given limited releases in theaters on the same day they hit Netflix. Now the streaming giant’s latest move is bound to make some theater owners and film studios nervous. Netflix is partnering with the iPic Entertainment theater chain to release Netflix original films in their theaters nationwide.

The partnership between Netflix and iPic officially kicked off last week with the release of Netflix’s new war drama The Siege of Jadotville (pictured above). iPic theaters in Los Angeles released Jadotville Friday, the same day it became available streaming on Netflix. Directed by Richie Smyth, The Siege of Jadotville is based on Declan Power’s book about the real-life 1961 battle between Irish Army UN peacekeepers and Katangese forces in the Congo. The Christopher Guest comedy Mascots will get the same treatment on October 13.

In a statement, Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer said, “Consumer choice is a pillar of our philosophy and the unparalleled level of comfort and hospitality offered at iPic made this a natural partnership.”

iPic CEO Hamid Hashemi said the partnership would pave the way “for a new frontier in shared experience viewing of Netflix entertainment.”

The deal may further ruffle the feathers of some theater owners, who have been concerned at Netflix encroaching on the traditional release window that kept a buffer between a movie’s theatrical and streaming or home-video releases. John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners, said:

Simultaneous release, in practice, has reduced both theatrical and home revenues when it has been tried. The theatrical window is a longstanding industry practice that has benefited studios, theaters and moviegoers. We all should tread lightly and be mindful that over the years, the film industry’s success is a direct result of a highly successful collaboration between filmmakers, distributors and exhibitors.

For those not familiar with iPic, the chain has 15 theaters across the country, totaling 113 screens. They are the luxury-style theaters that have become popular in recent years, featuring food and alcohol service, as well as more comfortable seating. iPic theaters can be found in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and other cities.