Knives Out 2 Is Already Avoiding A Fatal Netflix Movie Mistake

Netflix is considering giving Knives Out 2 a theatrical stint, which will avoid one of the streaming service’s worst movie mistakes. Following Knives Out’s massive success in 2019, Netflix grabbed the rights to make two sequels, both of which will be made available on the service for subscribers. However, unlike the vast majority of its previous projects, Netflix is testing out a new release schedule for some of its original movies by giving them an exclusive theatrical window. One of the top contenders, according to Bloombergis the highly-anticipated film Knives Out 2. Before Knives Out 2 drops on Netflix in 2022, it may be released in theaters for a 45-day window, which would repeat Warner Bros.’ and Disney’s typical theater-to-streaming trend.


While Netflix has been churning out original movies since 2012, the streaming service has rarely debuted its projects in theaters. So far, every Netflix movie that has had a stint in theaters received a limited theatrical release or debuted at a film festival, with the majority of audiences only being able to see such films on Netflix’s streaming service. Since Netflix needs to keep up numbers on its platform, the service typically only releases movies into theaters for limited windows when required for awards eligibility. This is the primary reason why Netflix’s high-profile films like The Power of the Dog, Don’t Look Up, My Octopus Teacherand Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman first debuted in theaters, as they needed to do so in order to qualify for Oscars consideration.

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While Netflix has been trying to form deals with theaters for years to get its movies on the big screen, the streaming service has notable issues with theater chains, making such agreements for exclusivity more difficult. The first sequel to Knives Out, which was one of the last great non-franchise theatrical successes before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, may then be the answer to solving Netflix’s subscription losses and theaters’ decreased revenue. Knives Out 2 is also the second in a new franchise with an already massive following, which deserves a bigger-scale debut than just a weekend drop on Netflix. Rather than being buried on the service following its release, a theatrical release for Rian Johnson’s Knives Out 2 could give it significant longevity that is typically only reserved for Netflix’s high-profile Oscar contenders.

Why Netflix Might Release Knives Out 2 In Theaters

Daniel Craig in Knives Out 2

Following Netflix’s massive loss of subscribers in 2022, the service seems to be testing out new ideas to gain back its goliath stature. One such idea has been to move more of its original movies into theaters before they land on the streaming service – and not just the ones that will be Oscars contenders. As of now, two of the top contenders are Rian Johnson’s Knives Out 2 and a new film by director Alejandro González Iñárritu, with the former seeming like a no-brainer for theatrical success. If the Daniel Craig-starring Knives Out 2 is chosen to debut in theaters, it would receive a 45-day window, which is the timeframe Netflix had previously attempted to secure for The Irishman in 2019. Theaters wanted at least a two-month window back then, so it was delegated to a limited release. After the pandemic’s hardships, theaters are ready to accept a 45-day window for exclusive releases before dropping movies on streaming services, which means Netflix can finally join in the pre-streaming box office fight with Disney and Warner Brothers’ major titles.

Netflix releasing Knives Out 2 would be a major test trial for the streaming service’s theatrical future, with Bloomberg suggesting that if the Knives Out sequel is a success at the box office, Netflix may release at least a dozen more films in the same manner thereafter. However, Netflix first has to agree to spend a considerable amount of money on marketing before theaters agree to a deal with Knives Out 2which it typically doesn’t like to do unless it’s telling audiences to watch it on their own platform. Since other platforms have seen the success of its titles on streaming after their theatrical windows, Netflix may now be eager to join in on this release strategy to regain subscribers, with Knives Out 2 being the perfect test trial.

Netflix’s Past Theatrical Releases Broke A Fatal Trend For Its Original Movies

Don't Look Up Posters

While Netflix is notable for churning out dozens upon dozens of original movies every year, the majority of its films are lost in its massive catalog after their debuts. Even Netflix’s most popular releases have struggled to maintain a place in the larger cultural conversations after their premieres, with the few that stick around also typically being those that were briefly released in theaters. While a few Netflix original movies like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Fear Streetand The Adam Project have held onto a longer lifespan in the cultural conscience, the majority of the films that go on to have larger followings or continued importance in wider conversions are those that had to be released in theaters for Oscars eligibility. The Power of the Dog, The Irishman, Don’t Look Up, Army of the Dead, Bird Boxand Andrew Garfield’s Tick, Tick…Boom! all received limited theatrical releases, and they happen to be some of the only Netflix originals that have had a massive appeal long after their debuts. Netflix clearly realized that these movies – even without the notion of Oscars eligibility – warranted a campaign for their popularity beyond just dropping on the streaming service, which clearly also applied to Knives Out 2.

Related: Don’t Look Up Avoids The Problem With Netflix’s Most Popular Movies

Knives Out 2’s Theatrical Release Saves It From A Big Netflix Problem

Knives Out 2

Knives Out 2 isn’t the type of movie that Netflix will consider to be its play at an Oscars Best Picture or Best Visual Effects win, so the notion that the service is truly working to give it an exclusive theatrical release is surprising. Not only will this mark a major change for Netflix’s future release strategies, but it also saves the Greece-set Knives Out 2 – a highly-anticipated follow-up to a film that has already been established as one of the greatest murder mysteries of its time – from a less impactful release on the service. While some of Netflix’s other genre films like The Adam Project have done well to avoid the service’s fatal movie issue without a theatrical release, Knives Out 2 is a massive title with a built-in following that already has a life beyond Netflix. As such, Knives Out 2 would greatly benefit from a bigger release in order to match up to the success of its predecessor while also ensuring interest in Knives Out 3.

Without a theatrical release and subsequent streaming debut, Knives Out 2 may have been delegated a relatively shorter lifespan than it would have with just a streaming release, as has been the case with the majority of Netflix’s original movies. Knives Out 2’s existing franchise notoriety would have already saved it from possibly dying on the service, but a full theatrical window is what will secure the sequel from being lost in Netflix’s massive original release slate. If the theatrical deal goes through, Knives Out 2 won’t be binged for a few weeks and forgotten in Netflix’s library, but will instead benefit from the theatrical assets of word-of-mouth, box office details, and communal viewing experiences to uplift its sway when it finally does land on Netflix.

Next: Knives Out 2 Can’t Repeat The First Movie’s Greatest Mystery Trick

  • Knives Out 2Release date: May 23, 2022

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