iPic isn’t the largest cinema company in the United States, but it’s probably one of the nicer ones. It emphasizes a premium experience and extra amenities, and has screens in fifteen markets.
The deal will allow Netflix to exhibit its movies in two of these locations – namely Los Angeles and New York – with the potential to expand to other regions.
Netflix’s previous attempts to break the silver screen have had a mixed success rate. By and large, theater owners aren’t keen on simultaneous releases. When it tried to release Beasts Of No Nation in 2015, many theater chains boycotted it, including AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike.
As Netflix’s catalogue has shrunk, it has increasingly depended on original programming. The vast majority of this is excellent. The Fundamentals of Caring, for example, is Paul Rudd at his finest. Meanwhile, Tallulah was a welcome return to prominence for The West Wing’s Allison Janney.
But I often feel that they’re a bit wasted on my 13″ Macbook Pro. In general, movies belong on the big screen, not on a tiny laptop screen.
With one major cinema company joining the Netflix train, this could be the event that brings the other chains on board.