As evidenced by the countless set photos floating around online, Martin Scorsese‘s “The Irishman” is now in production. To the consternation of some cinephiles, the film is being produced by Netflix, but it should be noted that the streaming service was only one in town willing to put up over $100 million for the budget — the other studios balked. However, the question remains about whether or not audiences will get to see the movie on the big screen.
Variety reports that Scorsese and Netflix’s film division chief Scott Stuber are negotiating the terms of the theatrical release of “The Irishman.” The trade says that Netflix will give the highly anticipated movie a minimum two week run, which will put it in the mix for Oscar consideration. However, the streaming service is not ready to publicly confirm anything about how they will roll out the movie.
“…it’s premature to say anything at this point” Netflix head of film publicity Julie Fontaine told the trade.
To be fair to Netflix, with “The Irishman” not due for release until 2019, to confirm release plans now for a movie that’s still shooting is pretty early in the game. However, Scorsese fans do have a right to be concerned, given that Netflix’s theatrical commitment (which has always include a day-and-date launch on their service) usually means throwing their original productions into a tiny handful of cinemas (for example, this weekend’s “Mudbound” will hit a grand total of seventeen screens across the country). Given that national theater chains continue to unite against showing Netflix movies, it’s hard to imagine that scenario changing for “The Irishman” unless the company truly throws out their usual playbook for Scorsese.
Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, and Harvey Keitel, the film will tell the story of Frank Sheeran, a high-ranking officer in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters with rumored ties to the deaths of President Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa. Part of the pricey budget for “The Irishman” will be spent on CGI to de-age De Niro ‘Benjamin Button‘-style for various sequences of the film. Frankly, Netflix is probably waiting to see how this all turns out before locking down their release plans — who knows, “The Irishman” could be a disaster.
There’s more than a year to go until we see “The Irishman,” so let’s wait to see how it all shakes out.