Netflix took a big gamble on “Beasts Of No Nation,” a movie which no big-name studio wanted to touch and even theater owners all across the country were unhappy about. But the movie, with the unusual distribution strategy of simultaneously being made available on the streaming service and in cinemas, has been a success. Over three million Netflix subscribers watched the film.
The film stars Idris Elba as an African warlord who finds an orphaned child during the civil war and trains him to become a guerilla soldier for his militia.
For the film's director Cary Fukunaga, who also helmed "True Detective," the success of “Beasts of No Nation” is bittersweet. On one hand, he is ecstatic that audiences around the world have proven that they are interested in watching movies that studios would pass over as untouchable. Yet he also wants to find that fine balance of the art of the cinema which includes the experience of going to the theater to watch a movie.
“I have to walk the line between being very supportive of Netflix, because they’ve been so supportive of us and the film, but also fighting to keep cinema a sacred sort of experience and one that won’t be taken away in the future because of a lack of places to do it,” he said in an interview.
It appears that future of movies will take place on comfortable couches as three million people over the course of the two weeks since the film's release have watched it in their homes, with a few also opting to go to the select theaters where it was screened.
According to reports, if you look at the numbers the movie made at the traditional box office, the movie can easily be written off as a failure, earning a measly $50,699 in the 31 theatres where it screened. However, Netflix believes that the three million who streamed the movie from its service shows that their gamble was not a failure and has actually paid off.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix's head of content acquisition, said that the company cannot be any more pleased at the film's success in their eyes.
“We are just thrilled with the total audience reach of this film, not just in North America but the world. In the first week of release, Beasts Of No Nation was the most watched movie on Netflix, in every country we operate in,” he said.