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Netflix's "The Irishman" strikes out with AMC

Mike Cherico

Martin Scorsese's new mob movie, "The Irishman," starring Robert DeNiro, will see a limited indie theater release on November 1st, because the online service could not reach a deal with major theater chain AMC.

Netflix will run the highly anticipated gangster film, co-starring Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, in select independent theaters for 26 days before debuting it to subscribers of their streaming service online on Nov. 27th. But first, Scorsese will world premiere the movie at the New York Film Festival’s opening night, September 27th.

The future of the movie industry and how Oscar voters decide what qualifies for an Oscar is at stake in the battle over how, where and when to release, “The Irishman.” Netflix is attempting to please subscribers by smashing the traditional theater business model which locks films into a 90-day rollout before allowing streaming and on-demand audiences get to screen major releases at home. Current Academy Award guidelines require films to be released in theaters in order to qualify for the prestigious award.

By not bowing to AMC’s demands and by withholding what could be a major box office success, Netflix is challenging the status quo.

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Netflix was willing to offer a 30-day theater release to AMC, reports The Hollywood Reporter, for the movie about the mob hitman who claims to be responsible for union boss Jimmy Hoffa’s mysterious disappearance.  Scorsese has a good track record with mobster movies, his blockbuster "The Departed," starring Matt Damon and Leonardo Dicaprio, pulled in a whopping $291 million as well as earning the director an Oscar.

Goodfellas, his other mob drama based on East Coast mobsters Henry Hill and Jimmy Conway, earned Joe Pesci an Oscar for best-supporting actor in 1991.

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