Over the last week, I’ve had multiple conversations with incredulous streaming insiders about two Netflix developments. The first revolves around why various old, not-especially-popular movies continue to pop on the streamer, often surging to the top of its most-watched list. For instance, Dragged Across Concrete, a critically acclaimed but semi-controversial Mel Gibson vehicle that bombed at the box office in 2018, hit No. 4 on this week’s English-language films list.
The second pertains to the mystery of why Netflix is ignoring theaters. It’s a constant, and often aimless, talking point that resurfaced in recent days following the news that Apple and Amazon are looking to bring more feature films to exhibition instead of depositing them directly on their services.
Even if they’re not particularly novel observations, they are worthy questions. Business models aren’t commandments written in stone: they oscillate as markets evolve and competitors experiment. Netflix, after all, has already adjusted several foundations of its model: adopting ads, for instance, experimenting with non-binge releases and live programming, like its recent Chris Rock special and the upcoming SAG Awards.