The first look at The Cloverfield Paradox, from producer J.J. Abrams, dropped during the big game — and not only confirmed the project has moved from Paramount to Netflix, but in a surprise, also that it will debut on the streaming service after the game.
Netflix’s surprise Cloverfield launch comes as a potential landscape-changing challenge to broadcast TV’s traditional model. The prime post-Super Bowl time slot has long been considered broadcast’s crown jewel. The Super Bowl is the most-watched telecast of the year, with the post-game slot considered prime territory where networks launch new programming or put their best foot forward with veteran shows. On Sunday, NBC slotted TV’s top drama — Dan Fogelman’s time-twisting tearjerker This Is Us. Fogelman campaigned for the post-Super Bowl slot and is using Sunday’s episode to feature the highly anticipated details surrounding Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death. The reveal is more than a season and a half in the works, with the network delaying the show’s 2018 return so that the big reveal would come after the Super Bowl.
— The Cloverfield Paradox (@CloverfieldPRDX) February 5, 2018
In a larger sense, Netflix has been changing the scripted television game with big spending (it has an $8 billion annual spending budget) on scripted television series. The streamer is now using film programming like Cloverfield to additionally challenge broadcast networks in the competition for eyeballs.
As for the Cloverfield sequel, the project has been shrouded in secrecy — but that’s been the case of its predecessors. Paramount released 2008’s Cloverfield and 2016’s Cloverfield Lane after successful viral marketing campaigns.
Director Julius Onah’s film boasts a cast including David Oyelowo, Ziyi Zhang, Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Debicki and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay approved of the groundbreaking surprise rollout for the film, noting the diverse creative power behind the movie.
Woman of color-led, sci-fi thriller released worldwide day + date w/ big Netflix muscle for black director, his super producer + POC cast. No advance press, ads, trailer. Straight to the people. Gamechanger. Congrats to helmer #JuliusOnah + my dears JJ, Gugu, David. #Cloverfield pic.twitter.com/m186Hprhqz
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 5, 2018
Last month, sources told THR Paramount was in talks to have Netflix acquire the film. The studio previously unloaded international rights for the Natalie Portman-starrer Annihilation to Netflix. Sources said Paramount chairman Jim Gianopulos was spearheading the culling of the studio’s slate following the exec taking over last spring.
“He sat down and looked at what is theatrical, what is not in this day and age,” said one source. Certain movies were not making the cut.”