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‘That Was The Mistake That Everyone Was Making’: George Clooney On Why His And Brad Pitt’s New Movie Is Going To Theaters First

George Clooney has been a busy man as of late. He’s just coming off the press tour for his latest film, The Boys in the Boat (on which he joked that he “almost killed” the cast). In 2023, he also shot a new film that’s set to be released as part of the 2024 movie schedule. The production, Wolfs, will arrive later this year and will see Clooney reunite with Brad Pitt. Most notably, the action-thriller is set to hit theaters before it becomes available for the public to stream. Clooney has since provided some insight into why the decision was made to send the flick to cinemas before a streamer. 

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The entertainment landscape is still changing and, as part of that, many films are being sent to streaming services and not receiving traditional theatrical openings. Also, some productions have even had simultaneous releases on the big and small screens. George Clooney discussed the shifting release strategies while participating in a Q&A conducted by Deadline. The query he was specifically asked was whether the happy medium at this time is to have a streamer-backed production hit theaters first before it goes on the platform. Clooney seems to agree with that notion and even noted the “mistake” that some studios were making when it came to sending films directly to streaming: 

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I think that was the mistake that everyone was making. They were like, this is our direct to video thing. Grant and I have a deal over at Warner Brothers. We met with David Zaslav and he was like, look, I think every movie we do will go to streaming, but we want it released first because there’s an actual benefit in having your movie out, be successful, be promoted. And it actually changes how many people watch it in streaming.

The actor/director makes a fair point, as a typical theatrical promotion could be beneficial for a movie before it heads to the streaming realm. The public can help drum up buzz and entice viewers to give a production a look when it finally does hit a service. One could argue that the mere knowledge of a streaming release could dissuade some from heading out to their local movie houses. Still, when a movie like Five Nights at Freddy’s is a box office champ, after even hitting Peacock the same day it opened in theaters, it’s hard to find fault with George Clooney’s logic on the other approach. The 62-year-old star shared more about how he and Brad Pitt arrived at their deal for Wolfs: 

Brad and I made the deal to do that movie where we gave money back to make sure that we had a theatrical release. At the time, that wasn’t as popular an opinion as it has become in the last year and a half now. I think Netflix is considering buying theaters even, I’m not sure. But you look at Oppenheimer and Barbie, and establishing them as massive box office hits makes them massive hits on streaming as well. We made The Boys in the Boat for MGM, but then MGM was bought by Amazon, which means they could have said, okay, well it’s just going on to streaming.

It’s hard not to bring up box office titans Barbie and Oppenheimer (which feature original concepts) when discussing the allure of a theatrical release. The Michael Clayton star is also right in that Amazon could’ve indeed sent The Boys in the Boat to streaming. So it’s pretty significant that it still landed a Christmas Day release date. That could’ve turned out differently, though, based on the rest of the sentiments the Oscar winner shared: 

And we were like, don’t do that. We actually put it in the deal when they sold it to Amazon, said, yeah, we’re going to give you a theatrical release. Because first of all, this is a movie you want to see with other people. You don’t want to see it just at home. You can, it’s fine, but at least give it a chance with other people. You also want to see it on a big screen. You want to spend the holidays going out, doing something fun like that. And then after a couple of months, put it out on streaming. It works out fine for everybody.

Based on the teases that have been shared, it sounds like Wolfs is also going to be a movie that audiences are going to want to see in theaters.It sees George Clooney and Brad Pitt both playing fixers who are tapped for the same job. The film is directed by Spider-Man alum Jon Watts and is being theatrically distributed by Sony before it becomes available for Apple TV+ subscribers. Fans are sure to be tickled to see the two Ocean’s alums back together again, and they were happy to be reunited as well. Per sources, Clooney and Pitt’s bromance was alive and well on the set.

Chances are promotion for Wolfs will begin sometime during the next several months. It’ll be intriguing to see what the two actors and their colleagues have been cooking up. It’s also quite cool that folks will be able to witness all the action on the big screen. You can look forward to seeing it when the film opens on September 20.

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