We knew Netflix‘s next big movie project would be surprising, but even we didn’t call this one. The response to their plans to bring “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” back to the screen were met with a huge response from film buffs and streaming fans alike. Movie theater operators were less thrilled with the idea of competing with America’s favorite lazy Sunday pastime, but they may want to brace themselves for another shock. The streaming platform has announced a deal for four big new films produced by and starring comedian and box office staple, Adam Sandler.
It’s a departure from the usual Netflix strategy, but like everything the video giant does, it’s based on data collected from their huge user base around the world. Adam Sandler may not be the most buzzed-about star on Earth, nor do his recent movies tend to be critical darlings, but Netflix doesn’t care about that. Netflix cares about what people watch at home in the pajamas, not what they get dressed to see in theaters on a Friday night. According Netflix’s content overlord Ted Sarandos, Sandler’s movies generate a lot of traffic — particularly in overseas markets like the UK, where the company has a strong presence, and South America, where it hopes to grow.
Like its “Crouching Tiger” sequel, the new projects Netflix plans to launch with Sandler will be day-and-date releases, meaning you can still catch them in theaters. That is, as long as movie theater owners are willing to show them. A boycott could hurt the films’ earning potential, but it’s also a potentially dangerous move for theater owners. Netflix has a demonstrated knack for creating the content viewers want to see, and refusing to offer what audiences want is not the wisest business strategy. If it’s a fight between streaming video in our PJs and stale popcorn at the multiplex, our money is on the lounge-wear and the internet.