Netflix May Be Playing the Long Con With Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’

Martin Scorsese
Netflix has invested a fortune in Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman," but will the star-studded gangster film be worth it? | Credit: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The movie has not been released yet; so, no one but critics has seen it. But if we are to believe what the critics tell us, Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Netflix movie, “The Irishman,” is the best movie of all time. If we can’t rely on critics to tell us what is good and what isn’t, who can we trust?

According to its 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Scorsese’s film about Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and the time he allegedly spent as a hitman for the Bufalino crime family is going to be must-see TV.

Netflix executives are undoubtedly hoping so. According to reports, the company spent about $100 million on it. With Scorsese directing and Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci starring, there was no way it was going to be cheap.

But Will “The Irishman” Be Worth It?

That will, of course, depend on how the movie’s relative value can be or will be gauged. From what we know about it, the film sounds like it has the potential to be a box office smash. It will have a limited theatrical release before debuting on Netflix on Nov. 27. But Netflix doesn’t operate that way.

Should it live up to the hype, it is not hard to see the film getting some Academy Award buzz, too. Maybe that is where the company is really hoping to see the film and its $100 million price tag pay off.

Netflix already has an excellent reputation for original television content and syndicated programs. But Netflix isn’t necessarily the first place people think of when it comes to feature films. This is in spite of the hundreds of millions of dollars they have been spending on original movies.

To be fair, Netflix has developed a solid reputation for its documentaries. But documentaries attract a limited audience. If the billions of dollars they are investing in original content are going to pay off, they need something that the general public as a whole will want to see.

You know – something like a Martin Scorsese gangster film featuring three of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

But the question remains – what will it take for a $100 million gangster movie to be worth it? Do they expect people that haven’t subscribed to sign up once they hear about the film? Maybe—but will they see an increase in subscribers if the film gets nominated for a major Academy Award like Best Picture or Director?

Probably.

The Future of Netflix

The streaming service has been turning much of its focus to original content, television shows, and feature films in recent years, borrowing billions in which to do so. It makes sense; as much as people love the chance to binge-watch some of their favorite shows, they are always looking for something new.

To that end, the company is looking to raise  $2 billion to fund its investment in original content further.

Netflix will soon be competing with a new slate of streaming services like Disney+, NBCU’s Peacock, HBO Max, etc. A continued push to develop new content may be what it needs to remain the dominant player it is in the streaming marketplace.

Making movies with the potential for Oscar-buzz like “The Irishman” could certainly keep Netflix ahead of the competition.

Gerelyn Terzo edited this article for CCN.com. If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us.