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During the Super Bowl, Netflix surprised everyone by dropping the trailer for The Cloverfield Paradox, a J.J. Abrams-produced film previously known as God Particle. The film is the third entry into Abrams' wildly inventive Cloverfield trilogy. The collective sense of shock came from the fact that instead of taking the route of a typical theatrical release, Paramount sold the beleaguered film to Netflix, which opted to premiere it on its site immediately after the game. As Ava DuVernay predicted, #FilmTwitter exploded.
Sources revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the deal, which was finalized just last month, cost Netflix more than $50 million—a sizable chunk of the film’s $55 million budget. In the deal, Paramount reserved the rights to show the film in China and for home entertainment.
The deal is one that could signal a major shift in the industry, one where studios frequently choose to take their more questionable properties straight to streaming services. According to THR, the move by Paramount was an attempt to rescue the film from failing at the box office. The Cloverfield Paradox was slated to hit theaters on April 20, following several delays, but the studio handed it off to the streaming giant instead.
Unfortunately, the film was absolutely savaged by critics. It currently sits at a lowly 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but because of the deal, the film is still profitable for Paramount.
So what does Netflix gain from its investment? Attention. And lots of it. It's no wonder the company already snapped up the international rights to Annihilation from Paramount, the heady sci-fi thriller starring Natalie Portman. If this is indeed the future of the film industry, Netflix is clearly leading the way.