In the kind of coup that press releases are made of, Netflix has struck a deal with the Shubert Organization for Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman to play at the historic Belasco Theatre on Broadway, making it the first film to screen at the venue in its rich, 112-year history.
Netflix will provide what it describes as state-of-the-art equipment for the screenings, which will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1. It’s a savvy move on the part of the streaming service, since The Irishman isn’t welcome at major theater chains like AMC, and there’s sure to be high demand in New York for the epic Mafia tale.
Robert De Niro stars as a mob hitman alongside Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale and Anna Paquin. The 3-and-a-half-hour drama recently premiered at the New York Film Festival, where it was showered with praise by critics, many of whom called it a “masterpiece.” Yes, it seems Netflix has come a long way from The Ridiculous Six.
The Irishman‘s run at the Belasco will mimic the standard Broadway schedule of eight performances per week — one screening every night except Monday, when Broadway traditionally goes dark, plus matinee showings on Saturday and Sunday. While Scorsese knew that the majority of the world would see his magnum opus in the comfort of their own living rooms, as Netflix intended, he’s no doubt relieved that the film will be shown in select theaters, and thrilled that it will make history by screening at the iconic Belasco Theatre, which has played home to numerous Broadway hits over the decades.
Pacino won the first of his two Tony Awards for his 1969 Broadway debut in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? at the Belasco, which more recently housed Network starring Bryan Cranston. Scorsese directed the theater’s 1977 musical The Act starring Liza Minnelli, while Keitel tread the Belasco’s boards in 1975’s Death of a Salesman and 1984’s Hurlyburly. Even De Niro has history with the Belasco, having starred in 1986’s Cuba and His Teddy Bear, and co-directed A Bronx Tale: The Musical with Jerry Zaks in 2016.
“We’ve lost so many wonderful theaters in New York City in recent years, including single house theaters like the Ziegfeld and the Paris. The opportunity to recreate that singular experience at the historic Belasco Theatre is incredibly exciting,” said Scorsese, who also thanked Ted Sarandos, Scott Stuber, and their Netflix team for finding “creative ways to make this picture a special event for audiences.”
“It’s an immense honor for The Irishman to be welcomed to the Belasco, an iconic and historic landmark fit for Scorsese’s latest cinematic achievement,” added Stuber.
The Irishman hits Netflix on Nov. 27 and is expected to receive at least a half-dozen Oscar nominations. In the meantime, you can watch Perri Nemiroff‘s video review below.