Netflix announced this week that a number of its fall films will have exclusive theatrical runs before they start streaming. This isn’t the first time Netflix has debuted its films in theaters — a few hit theaters first last year, too — but this year’s theatrical slate is much larger and seems to indicate something of a shift in strategy.
This year, Netflix is putting 10 movies in theaters ahead of time, up from just three last year (though a fourth was added later). It’ll range from a quiet relationships drama (Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story) to an over-the-top comedy (the Eddie Murphy- led Dolemite Is My Name) to prestige fare (Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman).
That’s a significant portion of Netflix’s fall film slate, and it includes movies that aren’t necessarily Oscar bait. I can’t say I know exactly what it means. Maybe it’s some kind of concession to theaters or to filmmakers, or maybe Netflix just sees the value of first-week box office dollars and realizes its viewers won’t be too bothered by the delay. Either way, Netflix is changing, and I’m not entirely sure a return to older release models is for the worse.
Check out 13 trailers from this week below.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
I might be alone on this, but hear me out: this idea that Episode 9 is the conclusion of the trilogy of Star Wars trilogies and should, therefore, return to the ultimate bad guy feels... kind of wrong. Episode 7 and 8 leaned on the past in some critical ways, but this trilogy’s story has ultimately been Rey versus Kylo, and the past didn’t matter much except as narrative framework. With the Emperor’s return, I’m hoping The Rise of Skywalker doesn’t get too hung up on an old villain for some semblance of an overall conclusion and instead gives Rey and crew the finale they deserve. The movie comes out December 20th.
I continue to be absolutely stunned that this is what DC’s Joker movie looks like. Somehow, it seems to be a dark, personal drama about how a man falls apart and ultimately cracks [insert Gang weed / we live in a society meme, etc.] Obviously, that’s been explored plenty of times in cinema already, but not exactly in the context of superhero films. It comes out October 4th.
Terminator: Dark Fate
The latest attempt to revive the Terminator series in a way that’ll make people care is to bring back Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. It’s not the worst idea, but really our bigger hope may be that Deadpool director Tim Miller brings some of his wilder sensibilities to the series. Dark Fate looks over-the-top and CGI-filled from this trailer, but the action also looks clean and clear in a way a lot of action films aren’t. It comes out November 1st.
After several years off the air, Netflix is reviving the British series Top Boy, with Drake as a producer. The show looks like a moody, gorgeously shot drama about violence, family, and survival in an impoverished area of East London. The show comes back September 13th.
Rosario Dawson stars in the first season of this new anthology series that comes in part from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail. Better yet, the pilot was directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, who made the excellent A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. The show starts sometime next year.
Okay, there is basically zero chance I’m going to subscribe to Apple TV Plus, but if I do, it will be for this Hailee Steinfeld-led party rock take on Emily Dickinson.
Timothée Chalamet stars as Henry V in this adaptation of several of Shakespeare’s plays. I didn’t expect much, but this looks pretty cool. It comes to theaters October 11th and starts streaming November 1st.
Lucy in the Sky
Natalie Portman plays an astronaut in this fictionalized take on the strange and dark events the followed real-life astronaut Lisa Nowak’s return to Earth. From the trailer, the film looks dreamy and tense and beautiful. I’m really interested in the ways it’s playing with aspect ratio. The movie comes out October 4th.
Along the lines of how The Big Short took on the 2008 financial crisis, Netflix’s upcoming film The Laundromat takes a very eccentric and comedic look at the Panama Papers and the secrets they revealed about how the wealthy stay wealthy. It’s directed by Steven Soderbergh and comes to theaters September 27th before streaming on October 18th.
Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates
Netflix has a three-part documentary coming up that chats with Bill Gates and looks into how he works. It seems like a fun and intimate peek into the tech icon and one of the world’s most prominent philanthropists. It comes out September 20th.
Girl on the Third Floor
My colleague Adi Robertson reviewed this horror film at SXSW and described its story as “restrained [and] sometimes skin-crawlingly tense.” It stars CM Punk and comes out October 25th.
The World According to Jeff Goldblum
There are way too many trailers this week, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut this one. It’s just Jeff Goldblum... doing stuff. It’s great! What a good premise. Everyone’s going to subscribe to Disney+. What a winning proposition.
The New Pope
I wrote five different things as I was watching this trailer and couldn’t narrow it down to one sentiment, so here are all of them in order:
- Is this a real TV show?
- I’m sorry..................................................
- What. On. Earth.
- This is actually a phenomenal trailer.