When director David Bruckner set out to adapt The Ritual for the big-screen he expected to see the supernatural horror film on just that.
However, while “The Ritual” did premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September, and was released into cinemas in the United Kingdom in October, the decision to sell the film to Netflix immediately nixed its US theatrical release.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to Bruckner over the phone about “The Ritual,” during which time I asked him how he really felt about the film being released on the small-screen of Netflix rather than in cinemas.
“It’s definitely a crossroads for a team of filmmakers in a sense,” he candidly confessed. “On one hand, I’m not going to lie, you do kind of create the movie imagining that audiences will see it in a theatre. Whether that’s the midnight madness premiere of Toronto. Or it is the UK theatrical release, which the movie did have.”
“But when it came to North America, and the rest of the world distribution, there was an opportunity for lots and lots of people to see it. And that’s something that should be embraced in all of its nuances.”
Bruckner then went on to admit that releasing the film on Netflix basically guaranteed it a bigger audience than the one they’d have managed to amass if it was put into American cinemas, especially because marketing a film like “The Ritual” would have been particularly tricky.
“I can speak for the States in particular, sometimes the landing strip for a theatrical horror film is very narrow. In terms of what audiences’ expectations are.”
“And there’s a lot of dreamy surreal imagery in this. A lot of symbolic notions that drive it forward. There’s a lot of things about the rituals that I think are a bit off kilter and more than people are used to. Despite the fact that there are some very familiar tropes.”
Which is exactly why Bruckner isn’t losing any sleep over the deal reached to put “The Ritual” on Netflix. In fact, he has been encouraged by it.
“So in the sense that the Netflix platform allows ‘The Ritual’ to be discovered by more people, that’s a huge opportunity for us. So we’ve been very optimistic about it so far.”
As you probably already guessed, “The Ritual” is now available to watch on Netflix.