Director Christopher Guest has become the newest Hollywood personality to team up with Netflix.
Guest’s new movie “Mascots” will reportedly premiere on the streaming service. The movie will center on the World Mascot Association championships, where men and women with “big heads and furry suits” will vie for the title.
Guest is primarily known for directing such mockumentary-style films as “Best in Show,” “Waiting for Guffman,” and “For Your Consideration.” He acted in many of those films and has also appeared in such films as “This Is Spinal Tap” (which he co-wrote), “The Princess Bride,” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.”
Netflix has been acquiring various high-profile original work recently. It’s already known for the success of its original TV programming, including the shows “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and “Daredevil.” And now, in addition to Guest’s movie, actor Brad Pitt is working with the streaming service on the movie “War Machine” and Cary Fukunaga of “True Detective” is making the movie “Beasts of No Nation” with them. In some of these instances, the movies will be in theaters and available on Netflix. A sequel to the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is also being made with Netflix.
In addition, the streaming service is working with comedians Adam Sandler and Kevin James to make original films. Netflix reportedly signed on to make at least four movies with Sandler. And Pee-Wee Herman is working with Netflix on a movie titled “Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday.”
In addition to what this would mean for movie theaters if Netflix films caught on, it will be interesting to see what a (presumed) lack of data means for how Hollywood and critics receive films. Netflix is famously cagey when it comes to how TV shows are performing in terms of audience. One of the only hints we may get is when a show is canceled, as with the Netflix shows “Lilyhammer,” which recently met its end, and "Hemlock Grove," though even then, many factors could contribute to the show ending rather than simply low viewership.
But for good or ill, opening weekend grosses are a large part of how Hollywood views a film, especially when it comes to blockbusters (indie films are often given more time to grow). A movie by an actor by Sandler would certainly be looked at this way, as evidenced by the negative box office performance of his most recent film, this summer’s “Pixels.”
If this information is taken away from the public, prospective viewers may base their decision on whether to watch a movie on reviews from critics and fellow viewers rather than a perception of a movie being a success or a failure. This most likely wouldn’t change much behind the scenes, however. Netflix, like any other company, would most likely want to know their investment was a wise one and would probably hesitate before committing to another film with an actor or a director if a movie didn’t perform numbers-wise as they had hoped it would.
Guest's new movie will debut in 2016.