Recent headlines have hinted that Netflix, in an effort to recoup losses from their hemorrhaging subscriber base, is considering a platform theatrical release for their upcoming Knives Out 2. Lionsgate
While Netflix has released their Oscar hopefuls in art theaters previously, this would be the first time that the studio would be adhering to the theatrical window model prior to the movies hitting their streaming platform. With this in mind, we've assembled 21 movies that bypassed theaters for their streaming debuts that we'd love to see on the big screen, whether it be at a one-off revival house theater screening or even a limited re-release of its own.
1. Okja Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
Bong-Joon Ho's phenomenal modern fable about exploitation and greed establishes a world built on magical realism that could really become immersive on the big screen.
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection 2. Run Streaming Exclusively on: Hulu
Sarah Paulson's taute and claustrophobic thriller feels built for watching alongside an audience with which the viewer can discover each of its twists and turns.
Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection 3. Tie: The Fear Street Trilogy Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
Leigh Janiak's stylish and gruesome trilogy served as a horror triptych that would have brought fright fans out in droves had it been produced with theatrical intentions.
Netflix /Courtesy Everett Collection 4. Turning Red Streaming Exclusively on: Disney+
Pulled from its theatrical release mere weeks before it was due thanks to the Omicron variant,
Turning Red has since accrued a massive audience, and its theme of persevering friendship and generational trauma (as well as a number of nostalgic elements) feels one that could make theatergoers misty-eyed. Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection 5. Extraction Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
This Chris Hemsworth-starring action film was among Netflix's most-streamed titles ever, and it's a shame that Hemsworth, who has had trouble finding a box office hit in any film outside of the Marvel canon, didn't have the opportunity to watch the film become the edge-of-your-seat theatrical hit of the year.
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection 6. The Vast of Night Streaming Exclusively on: Amazon Prime Video
This visually stunning, slow-burn sci-fi film following two teenagers as they search for potentially extraterrestrial happenings in their hometown deserved to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection 7. The Babysitter Netflix Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
McG's surprisingly hilarious horror comedy is the kind of movie that's great to watch at home but would absolutely benefit from the energy of a down-to-clown crowd.
8. 8-Bit Christmas Streaming Exclusively on: HBO Max
This recent throwback to Christmas movies of yesteryear is a wonderful group watch and likely the most authentic holiday film of its kind since the sleeper seasonal hit,
The Night Before, back in 2015. Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection 9. Cam Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
Madeline Brewer has been a performer to watch for quite some time, but this mind-melting and provocative horror picture would undoubtedly work better with an audience feasting on one another's gasps and screams.
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection 10. Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers Streaming Exclusively on: Disney+
Roger Rabbit-esque animated meta-caper is one of the funniest original films to hit Disney+ but its frankly a shame that audiences weren't able to discover its jokes, cameos and surprises in real time in a packed theater. Disney+ / Courtesy Everett Collection 11. Da 5 Bloods Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
Spike Lee's emotional and captivating twist on the war epic would have likely swept the Oscars if it had been given the chance to connect with audiences en masse through the traditional theatrical experience.
David Lee / Netflix / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy 12. The Witch in the Window Streaming Exclusively on: Shudder
Having seen Andy Mitton's breathtaking horror film theatrically, at one of its rare festival screenings, there is nothing quite like watching a movie with scares so good and innovative that people literally stand up in their seats in shock.
One Bad House Films via YouTube 13. The Night Comes For Us Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
Timo Tjahjanto's relentless and brutal action flick is basically screaming for a theatrical presentation, the kind punctuated with vocal, four-lettered audience cues that have made the likes of
John Wick and The Raid such unique big-screen experiences. Infinite Frameworks Studios / XYZ Films / Collection Christophel / Alamy 14. Without Remorse Streaming Exclusively on: Amazon Prime Video
Amazon's Tom Clancy adaptation was a major deal in the streamer's 2021 film slate, going as far to have been the anchor of its Super Bowl commercial, but there's no doubt the film would have lasted longer in the cultural conversation if it was one of the hard-hitting action films that brought folks back to the movies in 2021, ala
Nobody and Mortal Kombat. Amazon Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection 15. Hush Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
Mike Flanagan's innovative stalk-and-slash movie was a major boost for Netflix's nascent original slate, but the film could have been the next
Strangers-level horror hit had it ridden the momentum of its raucous festival screenings. Netflix / Intrepid Pictures / Blumhouse Productions / Prod.DB / Alamy 16. V/H/S/94 Streaming Exclusively on: Shudder
V/H/S film that this writer has not seen in theaters, there's not much like the experience of nail-biting puzzlebox aspect of watching each found footage segment in this franchise unfold with a live crowd. Shudder / Courtesy Everett Collection 17. The King Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
This bloody and unexpectedly charming historical epic is solid on its own merits but the sheer scale and level of performance on display would have been spectacular to witness on the biggest screen possible.
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection 18. Zack Snyder's Justice League Streaming Exclusively on: HBO Max
Honestly, this one feels like a no-brainer, and considering Snyder composed the film's visual style for IMAX screens, I'm still shocked that the "Snyder Cut" has yet to receive a limited theatrical run of any kind.
Warner Bros. / DC Films / HBO Max / Alamy 19. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
While this one makes sense given
Breaking Bad's astronomical growth on the streamer during its broadcast run, it still would have been novel to witness a new Breaking Bad story on the big screen for the first (and potentially only) time. Ben Rothstein / Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection 20. Palm Springs Streaming Exclusively on: Hulu
Palm Springs had an incredibly short and limited run at drive-in theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, the best feature romantic comedy in years would have been an absolute blast to watch with a crowd, considering how hard and frequent the laughs kept coming from start to finish. Chris Willard / Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection 21. The Ritual Streaming Exclusively on: Netflix
Another title of which I was incredibly grateful to catch a rare theatrical exhibition,
The Ritual is a whole different experience with a crowd that can go on this unnerving emotional rollercoaster through every jaw-dropping and heart-stopping moment. Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection