So something interesting happened during the Super Bowl. An ad spot ran that was for a forthcoming film, not surprising—several had already run by this point. But this one promised answers to some of the questions that drove 2008’s “Cloverfield” (a movie that I really enjoyed). A surprise Cloverfield sequel, called “The Cloverfield Paradox”? Sounds cool. I wonder when it’s coming out.
Then came the Netflix logo. And the words “Coming Very Soon.” Wait, what? Netflix? And what does “very soon” mean? They couldn’t mean…
Sure enough, “The Cloverfield Paradox”, originally slated to be released into theaters in April, was instead promoted and premiered on Super Bowl Sunday as a Netflix exclusive release. What a massive and exhilarating surprise.
The movie itself? Well, about that. Josh Spiegel at the Hollywood Reporter:
“The Cloverfield Paradox” was originally called “God Particle”; most importantly, up until only a few weeks ago, it was going to be released theatrically by Paramount Pictures, just as Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane were. For various reasons, including rumored troubles with the film, God Particle kept getting pushed back.
In some respects, the experiment has worked remarkably well. Super Bowl advertising is ideal even for theatrically released films with release dates months in the future. What Netflix did Sunday night was to potentially take away from NBC’s broadcast of its buzzy drama “This Is Us”, which enjoyed a cushy post-game slot.
The film is getting dismal reviews, with some industry observers noting Paramount may have been wise to unload it rather than face embarrassing box office prospects. Last month, sources told THR Paramount chairman Jim Gianopulos was spearheading a culling of the studio slate he inherited when he took over last spring.
So: The movie itself may not be great. (I haven’t seen it yet; I watched “Star Trek: Discovery” and another episode of “Altered Carbon” last night instead.) And the deal seems to have emerged from serious changes in management at Paramount. That said, Netflix got to make headlines for the cost of a distribution deal and a couple of Super Bowl ads, Paramount got to unload a film it didn’t want to distribute, and “The Cloverfield Paradox” probably got more viewers than it would’ve ever gotten during a theatrical release.
In this era of streaming entertainment, not only can all the rules be broken, you get the feeling that all of them will be.