Netflix’s theatrical release plans for some of its fall Oscar contenders are beginning to take shape. The company will release “22 July,” a drama about the 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway that claimed the lives of 77 people, on Oct. 10. The film will launch on its streaming service and will have a simultaneous theatrical run on roughly 100 screens around the world, Variety has learned. It is one of the widest theatrical releases in Netflix’s history.
“22 July” was directed by Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips”) and earned strong reviews when it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Venice International Film Festival. It will have a special presentation solely in theaters in Scandinavia beginning on Oct. 4 that will last until Oct. 10, at which point the film will be available on Netflix’s platform.
“22 July” will be released in Los Angeles, New York City, Albany, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington, DC. Domestic theater chains that will play the film will include iPic, Landmark, IFC, Alamo, and Laemmle, all of which released previous Netflix releases such as “First They Killed My Father” and “Mudbound.”
Some of the country’s largest exhibition chains, a group that includes Regal and AMC, refuse to screen Netflix releases because they open simultaneously in theaters and on streaming platforms. Netflix has had a contentious relationship with theater chains in the past, with chief content officer Ted Sarandos once criticizing them for stifling innovation. Exhibitors have also been hostile, with French theater chains, for instance, preventing Netflix from releasing its movies in competition during this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
“22 July” will also have several overseas engagements, including theatrical runs in Toronto, the United Kingdom (where it will play the Curzon circuit), and on more than 75 screens throughout the rest of Europe including Germany, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, Benelux, and Poland. Netflix will retain all rights to the movie, but may hire local distributors in certain countries to oversee the theatrical component of the film’s release.
“22 July” isn’t the only Netflix fall release that will have a run in theaters. Netflix announced that Tamara Jenkins’ “Private Life” will be released in 21 theaters in cities such as Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, and London. The company is also planning theatrical runs for the Coen brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Orson Welles’ “The Other Side of the Wind,” and David Mackenzie’s “Outlaw King.” Netflix is considering some sort of exclusive theatrical run for Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” when the awards season favorite opens in December. Discussions are ongoing and it’s unclear how long that engagement would last and how many chains would be open to showing the film. “Roma,” a drama about a family in Mexico City, is seen as a leading contender for the Oscar for best picture.
Netflix is leaning on the expertise of Dan Fellman as it plots out its theatrical strategy for “Roma,” “22 July,” and other films. Fellman, the former domestic distribution president at Warner Bros., has been a general consultant at the company for roughly six months. He is close to filmmakers such as Cuaron and is also a friend of Scott Stuber, Netflix’s feature film chief. Since retiring form Warner Bros. In 2015, Fellman has continued to work with filmmakers such as Clint Eastwood and Steven Soderbergh on the release of their films. He is also consulting on the release of Eastwood’s upcoming crime drama “The Mule.”