— Netflix

When the Netflix logo popped up in front of the New York Film Festival screening of Hit Man, the audience booed. Richard Linklater’s wildly entertaining assassin comedy had already made a splash at the festival circuit: it was poised to be one of the year’s biggest hits, and star Glen Powell (who also featured in Anyone But You) our next great Movie Star. “Glen Powell Makes a Case for Movie Stardom in Hit Man,” Vanity Fair and Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon, that doesn’t help a film reach beyond the cinephiles who keep track of these things. And Linklater himself has been burned by Netflix before.

Linklater is not exactly an inaccessible arthouse director — School of Rock was a cross-generational hit, while films like Dazed and Confused and the Before trilogy are considered cultural touchstones. But did you know that Richard Linklater made an acclaimed animated movie about his childhood for Netflix? Neither did most people, and the burial of his 2022 animated film Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood doesn’t bode well for Hit Man’s treatment by the streamer.

Does a Netflix release doom Hit Man to obscurity? No. But it does prevent Hit Man from becoming the bonafide box office hit it could’ve been. Maybe Netflix could reconsider changing that limited release into an “only in theaters.”

Hit Man premieres on Netflix in select countries on Friday, June 7, 2024, with a limited theatrical release prior.

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