Netflix ‘Knives Out’ sequel to release in major theaters one month before streaming

This Thanksgiving, Netflix is marking a first – announcing Thursday that the murder mystery sequel to the popular “Knives Out” film will play in major theaters for one week before it’s released a month later on the streaming giant’s SVOD service.

The “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” film, written and directed by Rian Johnson and starring Daniel Craig, will debut in around 600 theaters in the U.S. including at major theater chains AMC, Regal and Cinemark. The theater showings are slated for just one week (what Netflix is dubbing a “theatrical sneak peak preview event”) from November 23 through 29, with tickets on sale starting next Monday.

The film will have its global streaming release one month later on December 23  In addition to AMC, Regal and Cinemark, Netflix said the sequel to the popular “Knives Out” movie will also play in additional select U.S. theaters and internationally in Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.

The announcement is a notable shift for Netflix and theaters, which in the past haven’t necessarily seen eye-to-eye on theatrical windows. As the Wall Street Journal noted, AMC previously refused to show Netflix titles as the company didn’t abide by a traditional multi-month theatrical window as the time between a film’s theater debut and when it becomes available on streaming platforms. The upcoming “Glass Onion” film is the first time a Netflix title will debut in theaters with all three major chains in the mix.

The movie is slated to show in more than 200 AMC locations in the U.S.

AMC Chairman and CEO Adam Aron in a statement expressed a desire for streamers and theaters to work together in a mutually beneficial way, adding that the agreement with Netflix is significant for the theater and movie lovers.

“As we have often said, we believe that both theatrical exhibitors and streamers can continue to co-exist successfully,” Aron stated. “Beyond that, though, it has been our desire that we find a way to crack the code and synergistically work together.”

He pointed to dual benefits of more money for theaters by having more titles to show and, for the likes of Netflix, attracting a wider audience once they move to streaming platforms “thanks to the larger cultural resonance those movies can gain from a theatrical release.”

AMC also appears satisfied with the month-long theatrical window.

“This agreement that we have reached with Netflix for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is acceptable to AMC as it sufficiently respects the sanctity of our current theatrical window policy,” Aron continued. “We are hopeful that a successful screening in our theaters this Thanksgiving will lead to more co-operation between Netflix and AMC in the months and years ahead.”

Although Netflix has shown other films in theaters before, they’ve typically had shorter windows between debuting on streaming. The WSJ called out “Roma” and “The Irishman” as Netflix titles among those with the longest theatrical runs.

Netflix’s desire to first debut in theaters looks to be partly driven by positive to response “Glass Onion” received at its Toronto International Film Festival premiere.

“We’re excited to offer fans an exclusive sneak preview of Rian’s incredible film,” stated Scott Stuber, head of Global Film at Netflix, in the announcement. “Given the excitement surrounding the premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, we hope fans will enjoy this special theatrical event in celebration of the film’s global debut on Netflix in December.”

And as the original “Knives Out” film was a big hit for theaters, the anticipated follow-up comes at a good time for movie chains that could use some box office buzz. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, domestic box office revenue last month had its worst September showing (excluding 2020) since 1996, dropping to an expected $328.7 million based on Comscore data.