Noah Baumbach has been on a hot streak lately with his terrific films Frances Ha, While We’re Young, and Mistress America. However, his latest, The Meyerowitz Stories, has been gobbled up by streaming behemoth Netflix.
According to Deadline, Netflix has acquired the global rights to The Meyerowitz Stories and plans to release the film in select theaters and on Netflix later this year. The movie is “an intergenerational tale of adult siblings contending with the influence of their aging father,” and stars Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Elizabeth Marvel, Grace Van Patten, Emma Thompson, and Dustin Hoffman. So this is basically the one “serious” movie Sandler does every few years to try and earn an ounce of respectability before returning to the dreck that pays him handsomely.
“Noah Baumbach is an important voice in American film making, and his films are always highly anticipated around the world,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, in confirming the deal. “Noah is among the filmmakers that we were eager to work with, and I know that film enthusiasts everywhere will be as moved by this film as we were. We’re thrilled to be the avenue in which global audiences will be able to see the film.”
It will be interesting to see if The Meyerowitz Stories makes any sort of appearance on the festival circuit this fall (it’s shortlisted to appear at Cannes next month). While Netflix has had success earning awards recognition with documentaries, they have yet to break through in any of the major categories. By comparison, Amazon Studios had a massive 2016 with Manchester by the Sea, which went on to earn Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor.
I’m curious to see if Netflix is still interesting in competing in that space or if their primary goal is to continue building up prestige titles for their library and hoping that those titles will catch on. Right now, it looks like Amazon has the better strategy by giving strong theatrical releases to their titles rather than doing day-and-date releases that diminishes the ability for a title to build any buzz.