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Rian Johnson: ‘I’m Pushing’ for ‘Glass Onion’ to Return to Theaters

The director doesn't see why a movie playing in theaters while it streams on Netflix is a bad thing.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 12: Rian Johnson speaks onstage at Rian Johnson Peels the Glass Onion  New York Magazine's Vulture Festival 2022 at The Hollywood Roosevelt on November 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Vulture)

Rian Johnson

Getty Images for Vulture

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” begins streaming on Netflix on December 23, but many fans have already seen the film thanks to a one-week theatrical run over the Thanksgiving holiday. The film grossed roughly $15 million in just seven days, leading many to wonder if Netflix left money on the table by removing it from theaters so soon.

IndieWire’s Tom Brueggemann explained why the strategy made sense, writing that “Netflix Originals’ theatrical runs, such as they are, are closer to loss leaders than revenue streams. It’s a marketing tool to drive subscriptions (which in turn support ads on its lower-priced platform). Netflix bet that by using exhibitors to whet ‘Glass Onion’ appetites — followed by a month’s worth of delayed gratification — it will reap much greater rewards than what the box office could provide. What counts is adding and retaining subscribers, and remaining #1 in an increasingly competitive market.”

Still, many fans are hoping for another chance to see Benoit Blanc and his suspects on the big screen. And in a new interview with Insider, the film’s director Rian Johnson revealed that he is trying to make that happen happen.

“Any theaters we can get it into at any point I’m pushing for,” Johnson said. “I want more people to have the opportunity to be able to watch it.”

Johnson explained that the film is unlikely to ever play exclusively in theaters again, but he doesn’t see an issue with showing the film theatrically while it also streams on Netflix.

“Once it’s on the service it will be available to theaters and we’re exploring what form that can take,” he said. “I’ll take as much as I can possibly get. But a lot of that has to do with what the theaters are willing to do, what makes sense.”

While nothing is set in stone, Johnson thinks that the film’s strong box office showing is a sign that another theatrical run could make financial sense for all parties.

“We were very interested in how it did,” he said. “We wanted it to do incredibly well for a lot of reasons. I guess for me, because I really want to show that this can happen and this can be a huge success. And that when it hits the service, people will still turn up and it will be huge on the service. That those two things can complement each other. Because I want more next time. I want more theaters. I want it for longer.”

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