Netflix has been gobbling up top-tier content in recent month, and now it’s been announced that they’ve landed the worldwide streaming and distribution rights for one of their biggest names yet.
The Martin Scorsese gangster film The Irishmen, about the life of legendary mob hitman, Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, will make its debut exclusively on Netflix. The streaming service will be financing the film’s entire $100 million budget and will control all distribution. Scorsese will be directing the movie based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, which tells about the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa (and of course, blames it on Sheeran).
The film, which reunites the legendary filmmaker with both Robert de Niro and Al Pacino, has been in the works since 2010, but has struggled to find studio funding. Scorsese had a deal with Paramount Pictures, but that fell through likely because of a poor debut for Scorsese’s film Silence.
Snagging a Scorsese film is certainly a big get for Netflix, but it’s not all they’re focusing on. As Netflix continues to churn out very highly rated original content (even getting names like Adam Sandler for an original comedy), they’re only going to turn their attention to bigger catches.
But is it worth it for Netflix? Can Netflix expect to gain over $100 million in revenue from this film alone? It may just be about more than the money.
Forbes speculates that it’s only a matter of time before a streaming service lands a premier from a name like Steven Spielberg or lands a major franchise release like James Bond. For now, there’s a good chance that streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon are purposely overspending on releases just to prove a point (that point being, that they’re a force to be reckoned with not just against traditional TV but against theatrical movies).