Netflix Demands Secrecy As It Silently Enters Theaters With ‘Roma’

December 03, 2018 - 3:04 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — Netflix has an Oscar contender on its hands with the movie “Roma,” but very little is known about how it’s doing in theaters as the company has demanded secrecy.

The film was released to theaters in late November ahead of its online debut, but Netflix has opted out of sharing in ComScore’s theatrical box-office data.

“This is kind of like in line with the general strategy, I suppose, of not sharing any of its viewing data,” Bloomberg entertainment reporter Anousha Sakoui explained. She noted that filmmakers and analysts are not allowed to know how successful Netflix’s programming is.

Netflix put out ads promoting the movie’s theatrical run and shows were sold out. Additionally, “Roma” won big at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Thursday.

The film took home best film, best director and best cinematography and has seen a swell of support from critics.

However, by choosing to opt out of audience data, Sakoui believes Netflix may have missed out on a huge opportunity to further promote the black-and-white film.

“Going a step further and deliberately trying to not share the attendance is, you know, they’re trying to keep their cards close to their chest,” Sakoui said.

“Roma” was never expected to be a blockbuster hit and Sakoui notes that Hollywood would have never produced the film as it has an extremely niche audience.

Though, Netflix’s decision to release it in theaters is expected to help improve the film’s chance at the Oscars, since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn’t usually consider films that debuted online.

But, Netflix has made it clear that it’s not going to operate like a typical Hollywood studio and may be forcing the industry to adapt to a new model.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributred to this report.)