We are all a little confused about what's going on with Cloverfield.
After the pretty genius stealth launch of the new Cloverfield film, I think it's time I address some of my thoughts on exactly how these movies come to be and their future in a post "The Cloverfield Paradox" world where one of these movies could come out at any time ever. Firstly, I don't want to delve too deep into the quality of the individual I have to address the third films quality because I feel that it is incredibly vital to why this movie was marketed the way it was. The Cloverfield Paradox sucks, it is truly a bad film that feels like a half-baked TV pilot with a huge budget. If you wanna read more about what I thought about it you can read my review here (plug plug plug). Unfortunately, I think it's this sharp drop in quality that caused its unorthodox but also genius release strategy.
Let me clarify that while I find the movie terrible I find what J.J. Abrams did in marketing this film to be one of the most genius advertising moves in recent memory. There is no doubt that Abrams knew that this movie was not of peak quality, hence the many many delays that affected this film of the past year. But rather than rolling over and taking a financial loss as well, he engineered an unprecedented release strategy that built so much hype so quickly that the film HAD to be seen the second it was released. This immediately erases any sense that this movie "failed" on a cultural/popularity level as it has dominated the cultural conversation for days now (THIS VERY ARTICLE) or even financially as Netflix reportedly spent $50 Million to acquire the rights to the film (which was budgeted at $45 Million). But Abrams didn't release this film on Netflix with the sole purpose of causing waves in the industry or to change how films are released. The reason he did this was that this movie was of poor quality and he needed to make sure that a franchise that doesn't have a very established fanbase or a central throughline didn't get completely derailed by one bad entry.
This is also semi-corroborated by a report from The Warp which claims that the next title in the Clover-verse, tentatively referred to as "Overlord" at the moment, will be released theatrically under Paramount as soon as October of this year. Which by itself is astounding as we hadn't even heard a rumor about until about two weeks ago. Yet, I'm not worried about "Overlord" in the slightest because if Abrams and Paramount are confident enough to release it theatrically that bodes well for the film. But on the flip side of the same coin any Cloverfield that now releases on a streaming service has an uphill battle as clear precedent has been set that it was in fact a dumping ground rather than a viable home for "Paradox." My only hope is that this doesn't extend to the other releases like "Overlord." I'd hate to see a movie like "Overlord" written off before it even comes out due to Paradox's poor reception or just fatigue from two of these films coming out in such a close proximity (even though I believe these movies will be about as different as night and day).
Ultimately what this breaks down to is that we may see two kinds of Cloverfield movies going forward: the "standard" Cloverfield film which involves revealing the movie about two months before it releases and the "streaming" Cloverfield film which would be a way to salvage bad movies into insane success stories. Hopefully, we get far less of the latter kind of film as the franchise moves forward. But even if we do I can't blame Abrams, Paramount, or even Netflix for employing this strategy again. Because if you could turn a terrible movie into a weird pop cultural event why wouldn't you? Or maybe J.J. will just find a way to stream it directly into our brains, at this point I can't even fathom what he's capable of.