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Netflix has surprised film and football fans alike at this year’s Super Bowl by releasing its new Cloverfield sequel immediately online after the game.
The Cloverfield Paradox is available to watch on Netflix right now, something that the streaming giant announced would happen with just a few hours’ notice. The unprecedented move is a groundbreaking play, taking the exposure and marketing clout that the Super Bowl now has for advertisers and, in particular, Hollywood to a logical extreme – why advertise to 11 million people that a movie is coming out in a year’s time, when people can just watch it on their phones there and then, while they’re still excited about it?
It’s a perfect ploy for the Cloverfield franchise, which has made its name with unusual, surprising marketing tactics; the first film, which saw a group of friends trying to survive in New York following a monster attack, was trailed with a cryptic teaser that went viral and revealed nothing about the plot whatsoever, while the second, like its predecessor, was shrouded in secrecy. That one also shook up the expectations of the Cloverfield audience, with two young people finding themselves kept prisoner by a man in an underground bunker, as he claims that some kind of attack is going on overhead.
The Cloverfield Paradox, which went by the title of The God Particle, was initially set up at Paramount, who actually planned to release it this Superbowl weekend. At the end of last year, though, Paramount pushed it back to April, before ultimately selling the whole thing off to Netflix. Word of that deal first began to circulate in the last fortnight, with no official word from either Paramount or Netflix. Now, the streaming giant has confirmed its acquisition in a big, loud, flashy style – a step up from last year’s big Super Bowl ad, which was for Stranger Things Season 2.
The deal gives Netflix the rights to the film in all territories except for China, and follows another agreement between Paramount and Netflix for Annihilation, a sci-fi film starring Natalie Portman. With the budget for Cloverfield 3 pegged at around $45 million, the sale to Netflix reportedly makes the movie immediately profitable.
The Cloverfield Paradox is directed by Julius Onah and written by Oren Uziel. It stars Gugu Mbatha Raw, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Bruhl, Chris O’Dowd, Ziyi Zhang and David Oyelowo. It is set upon a space station orbiting above a planet on the brink of war, where scientists test a device to solve the energy crisis, only to find themselves facing a dark alternate reality. With a Nigerian director at the helm and a diverse cast that is far from the norm in a mainstream blockbuster, Cloverfield 4 is already a welcome step forward from Hollywood, but Netflix’s decision to surprise-release it also makes it as accessible as possible worldwide, without any distributors able to get nervous about the film’s prospects or limit its release.
With some criticising Netflix for not promoting its movies enough through traditional channels, it’s also proof that the streaming giant can muster up the clout for an event release, generating a talking point and hype around a release with a single advertising spot – and, by releasing it instantly, also manages to let fans watch the movie without spoiler-filled adverts giving away the whole thing. Read our spoiler-free review here.
The Cloverfield Paradox is available on Netflix UK, as part of £7.99 monthly subscription.
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