During the Super Bowl, Netflix surprised everyone and announced that not only was the streaming company going to release a new ‘Cloverfield‘ movie but that the film was going to be streamed right after the game. The announcement came in the form of a 30-second spot for “The Cloverfield Paradox,” using the first two movies as reference points (“Cloverfield,” “10 Cloverfield Lane.”). The idea was historic. A $40 million blockbuster was about to be released into our living rooms without a single trailer, teaser or photo to its name.
As far as marketing goes, this was a game-changer and a brilliant move from Netflix. However, as far as the movie went, those adjectives could not be used to describe the mess that was unfolding onscreen. “The Cloverfield Paradox” was bad. Really bad. In fact, the film is far and away the worst movie of the “Cloververse.” After watching ‘Paradox,’ the pieces of the puzzle started to fit, everything aligned in a much clearer way. Good God, Netflix had just Punk’d us.
The new conversation surrounding the film wasn’t about the amazing marketing strategy. No, it became about why Netflix bought a sub-par film from Paramount, and why Paramount spent all this money on a film that they just sold to a streaming service. According to a report from Variety, we are starting to get a clearer picture of what went on behind the scenes that led to this, clearly fumbled, release strategy.
Not much has been known about the wheeling and dealing that went on between Paramount and Netflix, until now. Paramount’s Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Gumpert, has finally given us some kind of insight about his company’s decision to liquidate ‘Paradox.’
“The movie was finished, we all reviewed it together with J.J. [Abrams] and his team,” said Gumpert. “We all decided there were things about it that made us have a pause about its commercial playability in the traditional matter.”
In the end, despite releasing a mediocre movie, Paramount and Netflix both emerged as winners. Why? Because it seems like Paramount knew they had a hard sell at their disposal and found the best way to rid of it and still make a profit. Whereas Netflix knew what they were buying was a not a great film, but also knew that “Cloverfield” was a well-established brand name that would intrigue millions of viewers into watching the film.
“There was an ability for us to be fiscally prudent and monetize,” Gumpert said. “For fans of ‘Cloverfield,’ the fact is many, many more millions of people saw the movie. It’s a positive on every level.”
While it seems that everyone emerged from the deal happy, Netflix’s reputation took a hit in the process. They only had one shot to do this sort of marketing stunt, and the streaming company did it with a bad film. Of course, Netflix would tell you that ‘Paradox’ was viewed by millions of people, and that’s good business. However, combined with “Bright” and a variety of other recent bad original films, Netflix doesn’t have the same reputation in the film space that they do with TV series. It’ll be interesting to see how willing the company is to buy these blockbuster film scraps from studios moving forward.