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Netflix Takes Spotlight after Cinema Closure

Netflix Takes Spotlight after Cinema Closure

Wednesday, 25 March, 2020 - 06:45
The Netflix logo is pictured on a television in this illustration photograph taken in Encinitas, California, US, on January 18, 2017. (Reuters)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

Studios look ready to rush out movies online during the pandemic – but can the big blockbusters afford to?

This week should have signaled the start of the spring blockbuster season, with the launch of Disney's live action remake of Mulan first out of the gates. The posters are already plastered on buses and billboards, but with cinemas around the world going dark as the coronavirus spreads, the big-screen release has been postponed, The Guardian reported.

Mulan had been due to hit the big screen on 27 March, just three days after the world's biggest entertainment company launches its Netflix rival, Disney+, in the UK and across most of Western Europe.

While Mulan will not feature on Disney+ just yet, the Hollywood giant has begun using other films to test the previously reviled Netflix strategy of bypassing cinemas and pushing films straight to fans at home.

The world's most successful blockbuster maker, which holds properties ranging from the Marvel and Star Wars franchises to Toy Story and Lion King, is not quite ready to give up on the enormous revenues cinema exclusivity offers.

Nevertheless, studios have started to query the sacrosanct tradition of cinemas airing films for three months first, ahead of a line of exploitation release windows, in a pecking order that includes pay-TV and DVD, designed to maximize the value of every movie.

Disney opted to buck that model, which Netflix has heavily criticized as an anachronism in the on-demand age, by making record-breaking Frozen 2 available on Disney+ three months ahead of schedule.

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