Although Paramount Pictures decided to sell off The Cloverfield Paradox to Netflix, that won't necessarily be the fate of future movies in the franchise.
According to The Wrap, the decision by Paramount to unload the sci-fi thriller to the streaming service -- which then took the unprecedented step of premiering it immediately after the Super Bowl on Sunday night (Feb. 4) -- was not indicative of what Paramount will do with future films that fall under the Cloverfield banner.
In fact, the next reported installment in the series, titled Overlord for now, is scheduled for an Oct. 26 theatrical release. Although neither J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company, which oversees the Cloverfield movies, nor Paramount has officially confirmed that the World War II-set tale will be the fourth in the series, it's been widely reported that this is the case.
One studio insider told the Hollywood Reporter that the sale of The Cloverfield Paradox was a one-time deal that made the movie "instantly profitable." Reportedly, Netflix paid more than $50 million for the picture. For Paramount, that covered the film's budget and then some, all without having to distribute the movie in theaters and mount an expensive marketing campaign to promote it -- costs that would have probably kept it from going into the black.
The surprise arrival of the movie on Sunday night also allowed it to get out there before bad reviews and poor word of mouth could sink in, especially since the movie was not generally well received once viewers had a chance to see it. A standard theatrical release might have also been hurt by the poor response. Paramount executives themselves reportedly felt that the movie was barely releasable, despite reshoots that tied it more closely to the original Cloverfield.
For Netflix's part, the service has a seemingly bottomless hunger for more content -- and the cash to pay for it -- so The Cloverfield Paradox filled a niche while generating an incredible amount of buzz during and after the year's biggest sports event.
In the case of Overlord, however, the film has apparently scored well enough in test screenings to give Paramount more confidence in a theatrical opening. But the question is: How does a period piece about Allied paratroopers battling supernatural forces behind Nazi lines connect to the rest of the Cloverfield films, which are all set in the present?
Well, it doesn't necessarily have to. 2016's 10 Cloverfield Lane had hardly any connection to the original 2008 monster movie, while The Cloverfield Paradox was retrofitted with additional footage to make the link more explicit. Since the original idea was to position the Cloverfield brand as a sort of modern-day anthology a la The Twilight Zone, Overlord could be marketed more like 10 Cloverfield Lane and less like the movie formerly known as God Particle.
The other question is, will the bad reviews poison the Cloverfield name and possibly hurt Overlord if it is officially deemed part of the series? We'll have to wait until October to find out.