With a month to go until its release, Netflix announced on Monday that Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will have a month-long theatrical run at New York’s historic Belasco Theatre. It is the first time ever that the Broadway playhouse will be used for a film screening.
“We’ve lost so many wonderful theaters in New York City in recent years, including single house theaters like the Ziegfeld and the Paris,” Scorsese said in a statement. “The opportunity to recreate that singular experience at the historic Belasco Theater [sic] 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.”
Screenings will run through the month of November and will be held in the traditional Broadway model of eight performances per week — Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets will be available for $15 plus fees on Telecharge.com starting next week.
“The Irishman” is the first collaboration between Scorsese and Robert De Niro since the release of “Casino” in 1995. Based on the Charles Brandt memoir “I Heard You Paint Houses,” the film follows De Niro as Frank Sheeran, a WWII veteran who became a hitman for mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and was involved in the disappearance of famed labor leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
Netflix gave the film a reported $160 million budget, using the de-aging CGI technology seen in films like “Captain Marvel” to make the cast appear younger in flashback scenes. Since its premiere at the New York Film Festival, “The Irishman” has received critical acclaim with a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score from 62 reviews and buzz as a likely major Oscar contender.
If “The Irishman” does indeed earn multiple nominations, it will likely spark a new round of industry intrigue over whether it can earn Netflix its first Best Picture Oscar despite ruffling the feathers of studios and theater chains with its attempts to cut into the theatrical window. Major chains worldwide refused to screen Netflix’s last Best Picture nominee, “Roma,” without an exclusive 90-day screening window. “Roma” was instead put on limited theatrical release for three weeks before being released on streaming.
“Roma” won three Oscars — including a Best Director win for Alfonso Cuaron, the first ever for a foreign language film — but failed to win Best Picture. After the Oscars, Steven Spielberg called for rule changes to prevent streaming films from being eligible for Oscars, but no such changes were made.
Now, “The Irishman” is looking as if it will take a similar path to “Roma,” as Netflix failed to reach a deal with AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark to screen the film in their theaters. But this new announcement for a special engagement on Broadway shows that Netflix is trying to find alternate paths to give Scorsese’s three-and-a-half hour crime epic the feel of a special theatrical event release.
“The Irishman” will be released in theaters on Nov. 1 and will stream on Netflix on Nov. 27.