Netflix has still not announced official theatrical release plans for Alfonso Cuarón’s acclaimed new drama “Roma,” but fellow director Edgar Wright is already stumping for moviegoers to make sure they see the movie in theaters. The film has been a critical favorite since premiering at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the prestigious Golden Lion, and it most recently screened at the New York Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival, where it made a huge admirer out of Wright.
“‘Roma’ is a stunning film. Manages to [be] both intimate, personal, but yet on a sweeping scale,” Wright wrote on social media. “A most engrossingly detailed study of a family and a time, an immersive experience I wanted to dive back into as soon as it finished. Demands to be seen on the big screen.”
While the specific number of theaters has not yet been revealed, Netflix has committed to giving “Roma” theatrical engagements later this year. IndieWire’s Anne Thompson reported earlier this month that indie theater chains Landmark, Laemmle, IFC, and Alamo will give “Roma” open-ended theatrical runs starting December 14, the same day it becomes available to stream on Netflix around the world. Netflix is also looking into booking the movie on Dolby Atmos screens at major theater chains, although those plans are still unconfirmed for now.
Cuarón and “Roma” producer David Linde told IndieWire over the summer that Netflix’s commitment to a theatrical release was part of the allure of partnering with the streaming giant. Both men understood the inherent challenges of a theatrical-only release (the movie is a foreign-language drama shot in black and white and starring unknown actors) and saw Netflix as a way to attract the most moviegoers to the project.
“It has to reach the biggest audience possible,” Cuarón said. “For me, when Netflix made a pitch to us, this film being so intimate for me, I was really concerned with the film not being able to reach as much of an audience as possible. Not even talking commercially, but securing a long life for the film.”
Wright’s recommendation to see “Roma” in theaters is shared by nearly everyone who has gotten to see the movie at film festivals around the world. Not only is Cuarón’s cinematography enhanced by the big screen experience, but so are the minute details of the movie’s production design. The film’s immersive sound design is also essential to the film’s emotional impact, and most critics agree that element will be lost should viewers watch “Roma” using computer speakers and/or headphones.
“Roma” is expected to be Netflix’s biggest Oscar contender this awards season and should manage to become the streaming giant’s first best picture nominee. The drama is also Mexico’s entry for the foreign language Oscar.
ROMA by @alfonsocuaron is a stunning film. Manages to both intimate, personal, but yet on a sweeping scale. A most engrossingly detailed study of a family and a time, an immersive experience I wanted to dive back into as soon as it finished. Demands to be seen on the big screen. pic.twitter.com/jPvpHCHLsi
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) October 14, 2018
— Alfonso Cuaron (@alfonsocuaron) October 14, 2018