Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How Much Did Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Actually Make For Netflix In Theaters?

Looking back, there's no question that Rian Johnson's mystery thriller "Knives Out" was one of the biggest surprises of 2019. The Agatha Christie-style whodunit took the world by storm with its clever writing, star-studded cast, and the expert direction of Johnson himself, making it into one of the most successful and critically-acclaimed films of 2019 — which is no small feat, considering the fact that it was competing with prolific films like "1917" and "Parasite."

"Knives Out” was also a smash success at the box office, grossing $312,897,920 against a budget of just $40 million (via The Hollywood Reporter). Considering just how popular and successful the original film was, it seems somewhat odd that its sequel, "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery," should be consigned exclusively to the streaming service Netflix. Indeed, holding "Glass Onion" out of the theaters seems like a surefire way to lose money, especially since (on top of the budget for the film itself) Netflix spent a staggering $465 million to acquire the rights to this sequel (via The New York Times).

Although it seems wholly odd that Netflix would not choose to capitalize on the popularity of "Knives Out" in favor of a widespread theatrical release, it's worth mentioning that Netflix did give "Glass Onion” a one-week theatrical run across North America in order to promote the film. Here's how much that limited theatrical run actually made for Netflix.

It's estimated that Netflix earned just under $6 million with this theatrical release

As reported by Variety, "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" received a one-week theatrical release across a paltry 600 North American theaters — a scheme designed exclusively to draw attention to the film in preparation for its December 23 release date. Despite the fact that Netflix itself has yet to release any concrete date regarding this limited release schedule, sources have speculated that the film made $15 million during its first week in theaters.

That impressive debut would've put the film in third place at the domestic box office, despite only playing in 600 total theaters (via Variety). David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research speculates that the film could've debuted to as much as $30 million if it had played in more theaters and would be projected to earn $300 million worldwide. That said, it's important to note that Netflix also only agreed to take 35% of the opening weekend ticket sales, which would have earned them just under $6 million.

Because most major distributors request as high as 50% to 60% of the opening box office sales, Netflix's lowball offer once again seems rather strange — especially due to the massive success they had in such a low percentage of nationwide theaters. In any case, earning just $6 million on a movie as popular as "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" certainly seems like a wasted opportunity, which is perhaps why Netflix is weighing a theatrical re-release of the film following its streaming debut.