Don’t you feel like every new streaming service that debuts is a direct response to Netflix’s dominance? After all, when you think of streaming, you think of Netflix. It’s now a verb and a phrase for hanging out and hooking up. But then again, The Irishman doesn’t sound like a great one to watch before you “Netflix and chill.”
The company has a cache, but what they don’t have are awards. A few years ago was the first time Netflix flexed its muscles in campaigning for one of their movies during Oscar season. And Roma did very well, garnering 13 nominations. It won three as well, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron. But the film didn’t win Best Picture nor did the company earn the respect it so richly thinks it deserves within the industry.
That’s why the streaming giant was willing to spend $160 million to make Martin Scorsese’s long gestating gangster epic. And given the subject matter and stars, it was certainly a risk, according to producer Gaston Pavlovich.
“It didn’t seem to them that a film, and let me be respectful about this, about a bunch of old men, an epoch film, would work anymore. These dramas were not in the eyes of the audience anymore. Everybody was looking for something different.”
The Irishman definitely caters to an older crowd if Twitter’s reaction is any indication, but despite the somewhat narrow demographic, Netflix was fully supportive of the film because of who was behind the camera, said Pavlovich.
“Again, Scott Stuber embraced it and Netflix embraced it. They said, ‘That’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for a masterpiece.’ If you would take this out to the movie theaters there has to be a difference structure of financing going on that doesn’t exist anymore to make it really work in that format for the present-day audiences of the world. Fortunately you have a Marty Scorsese, a creative director, and you have Netflix who’s willing to take that business model and still give us; the world audience, the opportunity to see that kind of craft. That kind of film. I hope it never dies.”
The $20-$80 million drama is a thing of the past and so, Scorsese decided to go all in and make the movie he wanted to make regardless of budget. After all, Netflix seem to have bottomless pockets, so it was a no-brainer for the director and his producers.
And it seems to have paid off, too. Both Scorsese and his actors are scoring rave reviews for The Irishman and the film is getting tons of awards attention, too. But will it be able to take home any of the big ones at the Oscars? We’ll have to wait and see.