Netflix to give ‘The Irishman’ exclusive theatrical release

NEW YORK: Netflix will give “The Irishman” an exclusive theatrical release for about four weeks, providing theatres most of November to play Martin Scorsese’s big-budget crime epic before it lands on the streaming service.

“The Irishman” will open theatrically November 1 and begin streaming on November 27, Netflix said Tuesday.

The release plans for one of Netflix’s most expensive films yet had been a subject of much conjecture ever since the steaming service greenlit Scorsese’s film. The director is one of the most ardent proponents of cinema preservation, but Scorsese earlier told The Associated Press that he signed up with Netflix without any condition of a theatrical release.

“The Irishman,” which includes extensive de-ageing visual effects to make its star-studded cast — including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci — appear decades younger in some scenes, cost Netflix $160 million to make. The film, about hitman and Jimmy Hoffa associate Frank Sheeran, will open the New York Film Festival on September 27.

Late Tuesday, the festival disclosed the film’s lengthy runtime on its website: 210 minutes.

Because of the film’s pedigree, theatre owners had lobbied Netflix to give “The Irishman” a traditional, wide release. But the major theatre chains, including AMC and Cinemark, have refused to play movies that don’t adhere to the standard 90-day exclusivity window. Netflix instead has said the film will be released in select theatres.

Netflix last fall first began releasing certain titles in theatres first, beginning with Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” the Coen brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and the Sandra Bullock thriller “Bird Box.” This fall, they will expand that strategy to more films and, in some cases, elongate theatrical runs to about four weeks.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences earlier this year contemplated a new rule stipulating a four-week exclusive run in theatres before ultimately deciding not to amend their rules for next year’s Oscars. On its way to several Academy Award wins, “Roma” played solely in theatres for just over three weeks.

Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers satire “The Laundromat,” with Meryl Streep, will open September 27 in US theatres and premiere October 18 on Netflix. The Eddie Murphy-led “Dolemite Is My Name” will hit theatres October 4 and begin streaming three weeks later.

David Michod’s Shakespeare adaptation “The King,” with Timothee Chalamet as Henry V, will play theatrically October 11 and debut on Netflix November 1. Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, will open November 6 and land on Netflix December 6. “The Two Popes,” with Jonathan Pryce playing Pope Francis and Anthony Hopkins as his predecessor, Pope Benedict, will open November 27 before a December 20 Netflix premiere.

All of the above titles will make their premieres at the fall’s top film festivals in the coming weeks.