Is Netflix The New Safety Net For Mid-Budget Sci-Fi?

February is turning into quite a month for genre films who subscribe to everyone’s favorite streaming service. Not only did Netflix swoop in and rescue Bad Robot & Paramount’s The Cloverfield Paradox (covertly releasing the film after Superbowl Sunday), it will also handle the international release of Alex Garland’s new film Annihilation on February 23rd.

In latest news, Netflix has yet again saved a “doomed” sci-fi feature from languishing in development hell – sci-fi thriller Extinction. Universal was originally set to release Extinction on January 26th, but pulled the film from its release schedule. Netflix will now release the film on its streaming platform sometime late 2018.

   

ben young

Extinction, an alien invasion movie starring Lizzy Caplan and Michael Pena, is directed by Ben Young. Young’s previous film and debut feature,The Hounds of Love, was highly praised for its disturbing psychological take on abduction thrillers. While The Hounds of Love marked Young as an up-and-coming director to watch, the news that his newest feature is set to be released by Netflix is somewhat of a mixed message.

The Cloverfield Paradox was received with middling-to-negative reviews, as was Netflix’s widly popular, yet profoundly silly, Will Smith vehicle Bright. It seems now as if more and more studios are choosing to pull films they anticipate will be a critical or commercial flop and sell distribution rights to Netflix instead – a failure on Netflix is ultimately less public and less costly than a theatrical release and, with the case of The Cloverfield Paradox, the hype that comes from a surprise release will ensure the film is eagerly consumed by Netflix’s vast audience before critics get a chance to eviscerate it.

What do you think? Are you excited for Extinction, or hesitantly waiting to see if Universal dumped the film onto Netflix for a reason? Let us know in the comments!

Laura Di Girolamo

Laura Di Girolamo is a film critic, writer and the co-director of The Bloody Mary Film Festival. Some of her skills include untangling wires, putting on lipstick in the dark, and rattling off quotes from The Simpsons. Her love for horror films began the year she turned 13 and watched The Craft about three times a week.