Have Netflix give My Little Pony: A New Generation a theatrical release

Have Netflix give My Little Pony: A New Generation a theatrical release

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Gavin King started this petition to Netflix and

In February of 2019, it was announced that Hasbro was beginning work on a new My Little Pony feature film. The film would be fully CGI-animated and would introduce a new fifth generation that follows the Friendship is Magic iteration. This film would later be titled My Little Pony: A New Generation. It would also debut in theaters (courtesy of Paramount Pictures).

However, two years later in February 2021, news broke out that Paramount had sold the distribution rights of the film to Netflix, supposedly amidst the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the movie theater industry. Which, of course, meant that the original intentions of releasing the film theatrically were essentially axed.

As this is being typed, Netflix currently plans to release My Little Pony: A New Generation exclusively via their streaming platform on September 24th; at the end of the recently-released video that headlines the film’s voice cast, “Only On Netflix” is clearly stated alongside the film’s release date, which insinuates an solely-online debut.

Being a seasoned fan of the My Little Pony universe for years, I want to respect and honor all of the tremendous work the filmmakers have poured into A New Generation.

I feel that the best way to accomplish this is for Netflix to give the film a limited theatrical run, in addition to the currently planned streaming release.

In a most basic sense, a day-and-date theater-and-streaming release could make everyone (er, everypony) happy. Pony fans have the option to experience the film as it was originally intended, with an audience, on a huge screen with loud surround sound. And while one could make the argument that home theaters today are coming very close to replicating that setting, not everyone is lucky enough to have that luxury. In this way, it could make watching A New Generation more than just a tap on the remote - it could turn it into an event. Driving to the cinema, getting in line for popcorn, witnessing the lights dim in the auditorium… it’s a magical sensation, and something that streaming, for as convenient and extensive as it can be, simply cannot replicate.

With many theaters open now as more individuals begin to get vaccinated, it is more important now than ever for the cinema to get the support it needs. Truth be told, people aren’t straying from the theater anytime soon. F9, the latest addition to the immensely popular Fast and Furious franchise - made roughly $70 million domestically during its opening weekend. Keep in mind that’s for a post-pandemic movie. That’s huge. If anything, it’s proof that the movie theater isn’t fraying away, despite real-world bugaboos. It’s not as if a movie like A New Generation will stir a box office sensation, but anything to support the cinema - no matter how big or small - counts. Plus, parents are desperately scrambling for ways to keep their kids at bay alongside post-pandemic stress. Family films such as Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and Tom & Jerry have earned a moderately healthy sum - especially when one considers that the latter debuted on Warner’s streaming service HBO Max the exact same day as its theatrical date, which should give Netflix a boost of confidence for A New Generation. With My Little Pony being such a lucrative franchise, it’s not out of left field to imagine the film doing modestly well should it be granted with a cinema release atop its streaming run.

This isn’t exactly a foreign strategy for Netflix, too. We’ve seen how this sort of thing can totally work in the past. Just look at Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, a film locked and loaded for Netflix but, in addition to its release online, was also very smartly blessed with a limited theatrical spin most notably at Cinemark. There’s a whole article about how much of a win it was for all parties involved. That’s seriously impressive résumé material for Netflix, Cinemark, and the chains that agreed to show it on their big screens. But Snyder’s zombie-fest isn’t the only jaunt that Netflix has given the theatrical throne to. Oscar-nominated hits like Roma, The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Mank are simply further proof that there are audiences that ache to see quality Netflix films on screens larger than their iPhones. For what it’s also worth, the studio is making another intelligent decision in allowing the Karen Gillan-led actioner Gunpowder Milkshake to have a theatrical companion alongside its traditional online debut. And there’s a damn good reason for that. They know this strategy works. If an extremely profitable studio like Netflix knows that they can make a little extra buck by biting the bullet and screening their films in theaters alongside what they’ve already been doing for years, then the reasoning behind not participating in said strategy is literally slim to none.

Lastly, and to return to my initial point discussed in my introduction, I feel a theatrical run of My Little Pony: A New Generation will above all respect the filmmaking team that brought it to life. It gets said a lot, but it takes an army to get a major studio-led movie made; writers, actors, producers, financiers, artists, animators, post-production supervisors… especially for a film like this in which essentially every element of the visual aesthetic needs to be designed from scratch. People make these movies to be seen big and, while there is certainly merit to a streaming release, I feel abandoning a theatrical exhibition altogether does not allow audiences and fans to fully immerse themselves into a film and its world. This reigns especially true for a My Little Pony movie, since basically nothing is based on reality and as such the fantastical universe allows viewers to distract themselves and escape to a more magical world for an hour and a half that is a nice reprieve from the doldrums of reality. By honoring a theatrical run for the film, you will not only be allowing audiences to participate in said escape but also pay respect to the literally hundreds of insanely talented people who all worked together under the notion that movies do one thing: radiate magic.

And the best way to allow that magic to radiate is to have audiences see this film as it and all films before it were meant to be experienced: in a theater.

The movie releases on September 24th of this year. Netflix, work with the filmmakers to ensure their hard work will have paid off the right way. Cinemark, and other respective theater chains, be willing and open to accept Netflix’s offer should they agree to a theatrical run atop of the streaming release.

Make audiences believe again.

If you’re still here, and you’re with me on my pursuit, please consider signing this petition.

Thank you, and may friendship always be magic.

- Gavin

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