The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) is speaking out against the release plan for the 209-minute, R-rated film, saying Netflix erred in not being willing to compromise with two major chains and agree to a more traditional theatrical window.
Watch the trailer of "The Irishman" here
"Netflix is facing a challenge to their business model for the first time and missed a strategic opportunity," said NATO president-CEO John Fithian in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Fithian added, "They are competing now for subscribers and filmmakers with companies with deep pockets, deep libraries and multiple ways to reach consumers. They sent a signal to filmmakers that even if you're Martin Scorsese, you won't get the wide theatrical release you want through Netflix."
Since it began producing original movies several years ago, Netflix has insisted on making those titles available almost immediately to its subscribers. However, most theater circuits won't carry a film that isn't exclusive to cinemas for roughly three months.
Netflix is hardly the only company that is frustrated with windows, since many movies fall by the wayside in a few weeks. The streamer, however, would only consider a 30-day or 45-day window, and the talks collapsed.
Fithian went even further in an interview with The New York Times for a Friday story, calling the end result of the negotiations "a disgrace."
This weekend, The Irishman debuts in New York City at the IFC Center, Broadway's Belasco Theatre and the Landmark at 57 West. In Los Angeles, it will play at the Regency Village Theatre, Hollywood Laemmle, The Landmark, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown and at The Egyptian Theatre (which Netflix is in the process of buying).
Next week, the movie will expand into additional markets in the U.S. and overseas.
Netflix relies on a patchwork of independent cinemas to carry its films, particularly during awards season. Like the streamer's Roma last year, The Irishman — starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci — has major Oscar ambitions.
On Nov. 6, the company will also unveil another awards contender, Noah Baumbach's drama Marriage Story, in at least five theaters in New York and Los Angeles before it arrives on streaming a month later.
Per its standard policy, Netflix won't report grosses for The Irishman.