Netflix takes The Irishman to Broadway
James R | On 11, Oct 2019
If the theatres won’t come to you, go to the theatres. That’s Netflix’s policy in the USA, where it will be taking The Irishman to Broadway this November.
The streaming giant is far from a favourite figure among exhibitors, who refuse to show Netflix titles in their venues because of the lack of a traditional 16-week theatrical window, a stance that will not budge even for Martin Scorsese’s new crime drama, which stars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. In the UK, both Vue and Picturehouse chains have said they will not show The Irishman, despite a three-week theatrical window.
And so, in the US, Netflix has turned to theatres, rather than cinemas, to help out, and will be screening the movie at the Belasco Theatre in New York. The Irishman will screen at the famed theatre from 1st November until 1st December, marking the first time the historic Broadway venue has welcomed a film, with Netflix providing “state of the art equipment” for the occasion.
“We’ve lost so many wonderful theaters in New York City in recent years, including single house theaters like the Ziegfeld and the Paris,” says Martin Scorsese. “The opportunity to recreate that singular experience at the historic Belasco Theatre is incredibly exciting. Ted Sarandos, Scott Stuber, and their team at Netflix have continued to find creative ways to make this picture a special event for audiences and I’m thankful for their innovation and commitment.”
“It’s an immense honor for The Irishman to be welcomed to the Belasco – an iconic and historic landmark fit for Scorsese’s latest cinematic achievement,” adds Scott Stuber, head of Netflix Film.
The Belasco Theatre, one of 17 Broadway theatres owned and operated by The Shubert Organization, was designed by architect George Keister and opened in 1907. Screenings of The Irishman mark a return to Broadway for the film’s director and stars. Martin Scorsese directed the 1977 Liza Minnelli Broadway musical The Act. In 1969, Al Pacino won one of his two Tony Awards for his Broadway debut in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? at the Belasco Theatre. Robert De Niro starred on Broadway in Cuba and His Teddy Bear in 1986 and was the director of A Bronx Tale, The Musical, which opened in 2016. Harvey Keitel appeared in Hurlyburly in 1984 and Death of a Salesman in 1975. Bobby Cannavale is a current Broadway regular, having most recently been in The Lifespan of a Fact.
The schedule of screenings at the Belasco Theatre will mirror the traditional Broadway model of eight performances a week – Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday. It will then be released globally on Netflix on 27th November.
In the UK, Netflix is also doing something a little unusual with its widest theatrical release to date: there will be simultaneous screenings of The Irishman across the UK when it premieres at the London Film Festival on Sunday 13th October.
The screenings, which typically start at 6.45pm or 7pm, will include a live satellite broadcast of the festival’s Closing Night Gala, featuring red carpet footage and interviews with the film’s creators.