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Netflix Inks Deal With 15-Theater Chain iPic Entertainment for Original Movies, Angling for Oscar

Netflix has inched its foot further through the movie-biz door: The streaming giant has reached a deal with iPic Entertainment, a luxury-theater chain with 15 U.S. locations, to screen 10 movies simultaneously with their release online.

Under the deal, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, the 10 Netflix films will screen at iPic theaters in L.A. and New York City, with the possibility of wider release.

The next Netflix movie in the iPic queue is war thriller “The Siege of Jadotville,” starring Jamie Dornan (“Fifty Shades of Grey”), which premieres Oct. 7, at iPic Theaters Los Angeles. That will be followed by Christopher Guest’s mockumentary “Mascots” on Oct. 13 with a special event at the iPic Fulton Market new theater in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport district (which opens its doors this Friday). This summer, iPic first tested showings of Netflix’s “The Little Prince.”

While it’s a small chain, iPic will play an important role for Netflix in realizing its ambitions of winning an Oscar. Under Academy rules, films must run in qualifying theaters for at least seven consecutive days, with multiple showings daily, and the venues must “regularly show new releases.”

Major U.S. theater chains, including AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment, have categorically boycotted Netflix’s movies, fearful that day-and-date release in theaters and on its global streaming service will cut into box office revenue. So Netflix has been forced to reach out to smaller chains and independent theaters to have its movies eligible for Oscar contention, and now the iPic Entertainment deal will give its top titles a regular theatrical run.

Upcoming Netflix original movies include “Bright,” starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton and directed by David Ayer, which is budgeted at $90 million; Brad Pitt’s “War Machine,” a satirical comedy about the U.S.’s engagement in the Afghanistan conflict; and the Angelina Jolie-directed drama “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers.”

Founded in 2006, iPic operates theaters in 15 markets that feature dine-in food and beverage service, among other amenities: New York (Fulton Market); L.A. (Westwood); Pasadena, Calif.; Fort Lee, N.J.; North Bethesda, Md.; Bolingbrook, Ill.; Glendale, Wisc.; South Barrington, Ill.; Boca Raton, Fla.; North Miami Beach, Fla.; Austin, Texas; Fairview, Texas; Houston; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Redmond, Wash.

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