The Irishman

Source: Niko Tavernise/Netflix

The Irishman

Netflix has brought on FilmNation to find international theatrical distribution partners in Toronto on a package of titles led by The Irishman, in a clear statement of intent as it sets out its stall for the upcoming awards season.

Glen Basner and his team will commence talks later this week on Martin Scorsese’s mob drama as well as a select group that Screen understands includes Venice premieres Marriage Story from Noah Baumbach, The Laundromat from Steven Soderbergh, and David Michôd’s The King, as well as Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes, which premiered in Telluride.

Netflix remains the worldwide distributor on all the films and will partner with international companies where rights are available, although the distributors will not own the film. International theatrical releases dates will be scheduled at a later date after FilmNation strikes the deals.

The streamer recently announced theatrical release dates for the five titles and others in the US and UK (where it partners with Curzon) as it ramps up its awards season strategy. Top brass are determined to win the best picture Oscar. They came close last season with Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, which garnered 10 Academy Award nods after a release and awards campaign spend by the streamer that insiders pegged at upwards of $60m.

The acclaimed Mexico-set, black-and-white arthouse gem earned a best picture nomination but did not prevail in the category. However, it won three Oscars for best director, best cinematography (also for Cuarón), and best foreign language film (the category is now called best international feature film).

Bringing on FilmNation for the core films in this season’s awards push gives Netflix peace of mind that the five awards prospects will end up in the hands of blue-chip international companies. 

Basner has worked frequently with Amazon Studios in the past and is in talks with that company and his buyers to establish the international distribution strategy on The Aeronauts after the awards hopeful’s US theatrical release was moved back to a shorter slot in December. The film starring Eddie Redmayne and his The Theory Of Everything co-star Felicity Jones gets its world premiere in Telluride.