Scorsese's The Irishman heads for theatres before Netflix

NEW YORK • Heavyweight film-maker Martin Scorsese said previously that he signed up with Netflix without any condition of a theatrical release for his work.

But, on Tuesday, Netflix said it will give The Irishman a theatrical release, providing theatres most of November to screen Scorsese's big-budget crime epic, before it lands on the streaming service.

It will open theatrically on Nov 1 and begin streaming on Nov 27.

The release plans for Netflix's most expensive film had been a subject of much conjecture ever since it greenlit Scorsese's movie.

The Irishman includes extensive visual effects to make its star-studded cast, including Robert de Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, appear decades younger in some scenes.

The film, about hitman and labour union leader Jimmy Hoffa associate Frank Sheeran, will open the New York Film Festival on Sept 27.

Because of the movie's pedigree, theatre owners lobbied Netflix to give The Irishman a traditional, wide release. Netflix instead has said the film will be released in select theatres. The major chains, including AMC and Cinemark, have refused to show movies that do not adhere to the standard 90-day exclusivity window.

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

Steven Soderbergh's Panama Papers satire The Laundromat, with Meryl Streep, will open on Sept 27 in theatres and premiere on Oct 18 on Netflix.

Eddie Murphy-led Dolemite Is My Name will hit theatres on Oct 4 and begin streaming three weeks later.

The Two Popes, with Jonathan Pryce playing Pope Francis and Anthony Hopkins as his predecessor Pope Benedict, will open on Nov 27 before a Dec 20 Netflix premiere.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2019, with the headline 'Scorsese's The Irishman heads for theatres before Netflix'. Print Edition | Subscribe