Netflix Knows It Left Millions on the Table Over Glass Onion Release

By Jessica Lerner 

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has admitted the streamer left “lots” of money on the table with the limited theatrical release of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, but the film’s release was always about drumming up buzz to increase the streamer’s subscribers.

“It’s a promotional tactic like film festivals, and if it works well we will do more of it,” he said at the New York Times Dealbook Summit in Manhattan. “We are not trying to build a theatrical business, we are trying to break through the noise.”

Netflix released Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out sequel in around 700 theaters for one week only. The film’s limited release pulled in an estimated $15 million in the United States and Canada, according to numerous news sources.


However, box office experts estimate Johnson’s film could have made $40-50 million over Thanksgiving if Netflix had given it a more traditional wide release, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Moreover, if the movie had been given a wider global release, box office analysts said it could bring in more than $200 million in ticket sales by the conclusion of its run, per CNBC.

Netflix has suffered a rocky start to the year, as price hikes in January in the U.S. and Canada also resulted in increased churn. This move, along with growing competition from rival streamers and other factors, led Netflix to bleed subscribers, losing a total of 1.17 million subscribers in the first two quarters.

The company did rebound in the third quarter to add 2.4 million subscribers, and the launch of its ad-supported tier has things looking up.

“It’s become a brawl now in the streaming of premium content,” Hastings said.