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Netflix isn’t saying how many of its customers have watched Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma on the streaming service, but it is expanding the film’s limited theatrical footprint to include 70mm runs in six U.S. cities — including Los Angeles and New York City, where Oscar voters are concentrated.
Roma launched Dec. 14 on Netflix after first getting an exclusive release in select theaters for more than three weeks, an unprecedented move for the company, which has always made its original movies and television series available immediately to its customers. In the past several years, some films have received a simultaneous day-and-date release in select cinemas as they were introduced on the service. Netflix has a standing policy of not reporting grosses, including for Roma.
Netflix is doing everything it can to bring attention to Cuaron’s critically acclaimed movie and position the film as an awards frontrunner and best picture Oscar contender. No Netflix pic has ever earned a nomination in the top category. (Ballots for Oscar noms are due Jan. 14.)
Cuaron has been insistent that the black-and-white, Spanish-language film play on the big screen, and has been especially eager for it to be seen in 70mm. The vast majority of theaters, however, won’t carry a Netflix pic since the streamer doesn’t abide by theatrical windows, forcing the company to often “four-wall,” or rent, a patchwork of cinemas.
The 70mm runs will range from two days in L.A. at the Egyptian Theater (Jan. 11-12) to six days at the Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn in New York (Jan. 11-17). Other locations and dates include San Francisco’s The Castro (Jan. 2-5); Chicago’s The Music Box (Jan. 9-13); Cinestudio in Hartford, Connecticut (Jan. 23-26); and the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, Texas (Dec. 26-1). As previously announced, Roma is also currently playing in 70mm at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto.
“We’re excited to make this cinematic experience possible as another part of the release of this special film,” Scott Stuber, head of Netflix’s film group, said Thursday in a statement.
Cuaron, in his own statement, stressed the importance of seeing Roma on the big screen. “Roma is designed to be meaningful whether experienced at home or on the big screen, but offering cinema lovers the opportunity to see it in theaters is incredibly important to me,” he said. “The 70mm print of Roma shows unique details not available on any other version. Being shot in 65mm, these prints bring live detail and contrast only possible using a big format film. It is for sure the most organic way to experience Roma.”
Cuaron shot the movie on Alexa65 digital camera, with 4K resolution. FotoKem, the only remaining 70mm print lab in the world, handled the transfer from digital to film, as well as production of the 70mm prints.
Earlier this month, Roma landed several top Golden Globes nominations, including for best director and foreign-language picture. It also was named best picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Online.
Stuber said that Roma is playing in more than 700 cinemas globally, which includes about 150 locations in the U.S. Netflix said the “innovative” rollout on both the big and small screens has allowed consumers around the world to experience the film.
In terms of its presence on smaller screens, the homepage of every Netflix customer in the world featured Roma on Dec. 14, a first for an individual title. The same held true for customers in the U.S. and in Mexico on Dec. 15 and Dec. 16, as well.
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