Sunday night, before the kickoff to Super Bowl LII, movie director Ava DuVernay posted the following tweet:
That surprise turned out to be Netflix’s release of the trailer for The Cloverfield Paradox, the latest installment in the Cloverfield series. The trailer came out of nowhere and with the subsequent announcement that the full movie would be on the streaming service immediately after the game. For years, studios have used the Super Bowl as a jumping off point to sell their summer blockbusters to the masses. Now, a sci-fi movie franchise famous for its mysterious films made the biggest splash on the biggest advertising stage there is. Netflix has created a reputation of making itself into entertainment’s biggest showman and on Super Bowl Sunday, they did it again.
The move is unprecedented in the sense that no studio, which Netflix now is based on the amount of original content they regularly create, has ever done something close to this before. Shortly after the trailer aired, the movie’s imminent arrival became the talk of Twitter. Netflix has become famous for revolutionizing our need for consuming media by pushing up the timelines for the things we want to see. Nothing screams immediacy like posting a mysterious film online mere hours after you showed the first-ever images from said project.
Netflix is notorious for not releasing their viewership numbers, but if Cloverfield does well for them, we could have a new yearly tradition coming where Netflix drops a big project after the Super Bowl. While other commercials that aired during the game, like the series of Tide ads, Netflix recalibrated its own expectations with the release of The Cloverfield Paradox. Hollywood is a copycat business, and it will be interesting to see if Amazon or Hulu will try a similar tactic in the future.
Netflix is all about disruption. Their presence has changed the way we consume and demand content. They see themselves as the future of entertainment and act like it. Sunday night’s Cloverfield bombshell was the latest chapter in the streaming service’s mission to dominate entertainment.