Hundreds of millions of dollars were left on the table when Rian Johnson's "Glass Onion" wasn't kept in theaters.
The sequel to Johnson's critically acclaimed "Knives Out" opened in nearly 700 theaters on Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The movie is leaving theaters Tuesday. On December 23, it will be available on the streaming service.
The movie opened in a limited number of theaters and earned an estimated $13 million to 15 million over the course of five days.
According to box office analysts, the figure could have been much higher if the company had released more theaters. Industry insiders questioned the streamer's theatrical release strategy after the truncated run for "Glass Onion" Many wonder if the company should rethink its resistance to the traditional Hollywood movie release model as it looks for new ways to grow revenue after it backtracked on its previous policies.
Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office.com, thinks that "Glass Onion" could have made at least $50 million to $60 million.
During the regular three-day weekend and the five-day holiday period, Disney and Marvel Studios' "Black Panther" continued to lead the box office with $45.9 million in sales.
It's not clear what "Glass Onion" generated in ticket sales over the weekend because it wasn't provided with box office receipts.
The movie "Knives Out" had a budget of less than 40 million dollars. The question of why the first film was limited to one week in a limited number of theaters has arisen. The streamer paid $400 million for the rights to two more movies.
The film could have made more than $200 million in ticket sales by the end of its run, according to analysts.
Robbins said that adults want to see this type of movie in theaters. Three years ago, 'Knives Out' was a perfect Thanksgiving release. The return of Daniel Craig, Rian Johnson, and another round of positive reviews for 'Glass Onion' are building on the excellent goodwill from the prior film as this semi-sequel reaps some rewards, but it arguably could have achieved more.
The success of "Knives Out" was due to word of mouth and the film's low ticket sales after its opening. The weekend sales of films will usually fall by 50% or more after it opens. When sales got a 50% boost, ticket sales fell between 10% and 30% a week until February.
This shows that people were talking about the film and encouraged others to see it.
It's possible that "Glass Onion" could have generated the same kind of word of mouth if it had received the same kind of review.
According to reports, some executives within the company tried to get co-CEO Ted Sarandos to consider longer stays in theaters for some films, but he turned them down. The future of entertainment is streaming according to top brass.
In the past, the company has used limited theatrical releases to build buzz for subscribers before they see the film. The company said that during last quarter's earnings video.
During the call, he said that they were in the business of entertaining their members.
He said that filmmakers have been demanding limited runs in theaters for films that have been brought to festivals.
There are all kinds of debates, but there is no question that we make our movies for our members and we want them to watch them on the internet.
CNBC requested comment fromNetflix, but they did not reply immediately.
Some Wall Street analysts don't believe that subscribers don't want to watch content in theaters.
Michael Pachter said that subscribers don't care. The talent cares a great deal. The talent thrives on the prestige of awards nominations.
He said that the company didn't do this for the money. Pressure from the talent was the reason they did it.
To Dan Rayburn, the promotion of "Glass Onion" in theaters for a week to tease its release on the streamer made a lot of sense.
It would have cost the streaming giant more to promote the film.
It is difficult for investors to see all the money left on the table when the number of subscribers is not growing as fast as they would like.
In the past few years, the streamer has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on action movies like "The Gray Man" and "Red Notice." The films are the first step in the process. They are costly and it is not known how positive they have been for the company.
Netflix doesn't have a lot of sources to generate revenue Subscriptions have been the only way for it to recover its spending. The company hopes the ad-tier will help generate more funds to subsidize its spending on content.
Box office analysts and Wall Street think theatrical releases are a good way to get people to watch movies.
Robbins hoped that "Knives Out 3" would be given the chance to build further on this moment of cooperation. It would be a good thing for the industry.
NBCUniversal is a part of the company. NBCUniversal is the owner of rotten tomatoes.