The Cloverfield Paradox isn’t very good, but the business deal that got it on Netflix could have major ramifications for Hollywood. It was a marketing coup for Netflix, and while we’ll never know how many people ended up watching the movie after the Super Bowl on Sunday, it was still a major deal for the streaming service. The terms were pretty favorable to Paramount, the studio that made The Cloverfield Paradox, as well.
According to THR, Netflix paid more than $50 million for the rights to The Cloverfield Paradox, although Paramount retains the rights for China and home entertainment. That $50 million price tag not only covers what the film cost to make, but also saves the studio money on prints and advertising. Paramount didn’t have to pay for trailers, TV spots, or posters. If they had released the film traditionally, it likely would have flopped, and the studio would have lost money on a movie that sat on the shelf for over a year.
However, Paramount still retains the rights to the other Cloverfield movies and the rights to make future Cloverfield movies. Additionally, “Overlord, a World War II zombie film from Abrams that scored high in two recent test screenings, could be a contender, although sources say that its fate is still undetermined.”
By moving Cloverfield to Netflix, the question now becomes what about the Cloverfield brand? Presumably, audiences don’t care that much about where they get their next Cloverfield movie, especially if it looks good and has positive reviews. If Overlord is doing well, then Paramount is under no obligation to send it to Netflix just because they did so with Paradox.
We’re also left to wonder if major studios will see this as a sound strategy. It’s unlikely they would unload a major blockbuster, but if a mid-budget project isn’t testing well, do they just shop it over to Netflix? Is that the new model? It will be interesting to see what other studios follow Paramount’s lead.