These are strange days for the movie business; less so for the movies because making movies has always been strange, but it’s the business side of things that’s particularly bizarre. To wit, let’s talk about the case of Spectral, a movie that was supposed to hit theatres everywhere back in August, but pulled back from release by Legendary Pictures after the utter failure of Warcraft at the North American box office. It’s not entirely outside the norm for a studio to pull a movie last minute, nor is it outside the norm for it be shelved and not immediately re-scheduled. What is weird though, is moving from a release on 2,000 screens to Netflix, but that’s where Spectral is heading next.
Deadline announced that Spectral has been picked up by Netflix and will be released worldwide on December 9. The first feature from Nic Mathieu has been described as Ghostbusters meets Black Hawk Down, and is about a special ops soliders working under DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) that fights supernatural threats. It stars James Badge Dale, Clayne Crawford, Emily Mortimer, Max Martini and Bruce Greenwood, and purportedly features some great practical effects courtesy of Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop. It’s everything you can want a genre movie to be right? Well, we don’t know because it actually seems like karma’s done a pretty good job of trying to bury it.
On top of the sudden removal of Spectral from the release calendar earlier this year, the movie was actually been completed for over a year now. So it was watching and waiting for that August release date in theatres everywhere this year and then it was forced to go back into someone’s desk until this lucky Netflix deal came along. One wonders why though, what made Legendary so suddenly concerned about Spectral that they’re sneakily releasing it through Netflix instead of multiplexes? Is it a commentary on quality? It hardly seems likely that Netflix would either need to, or want to, pick up someone’s sloppy seconds. Is this a sign of the times? Maybe Legendary thinks that they’ll get better business releasing it through Netflix than in theatres.
Whatever the answer is, we’ll find out together on December 9 when Spectral joins our collective My List when its released to Netflix.