Netflix Stuns With Surprise Cloverfield Paradox Super Bowl Release

Though the first two Cloverfield movies were healthy box office hits for Paramount Studios, shifting dynamics behind the scenes mean that the third installment in the highly secretive franchise, called, at one point God Particle and re-branded as The Cloverfield Paradox, was sold off to Netflix. The streaming service earned its reputation as a disruptor Sunday night by not only dropping the first trailer for the movie during the Super Bowl, but also releasing the movie in its entirety on the streaming platform later that same night. That’s one way to capitalize on the Super Bowl’s massive, captive audience without even paying for a full TV spot. Before Netflix officially announced it was dropping The Cloverfield Paradox, the first teaser concluded with a cheeky “Coming Very Soon” and a potentially instructive “whatever you’re doing, stop” line reading from star Gugu Mbatha Raw.

Deadline first reported the news of a same-night release earlier in the day on Sunday, but rumors had already been swirling that something shocking was coming to forever change the way film promotion and the Super Bowl worked together. Director Ava DuVernay (who is close friends with God Particle and Selma star David Oyelowo) teased:

While The Black List founder Franklin Leonard further stoked the flames:

DuVernay then confirmed the news on her Twitter feed. . .

. . .just as Netflix itself announced the release with a full version of the trailer.

While some may see this move as a muscular stroke of PR genius, others worry that The Cloverfield Paradox is being unceremoniously dumped.

The Super Bowl has a long and proud tradition of massive movie promotion. This year’s game saw, among others, trailers for new Star Wars and Jurassic World installments. There’s also a long history of the Super Bowl as a lead-in for special episodes from shows like Friends, Alias, The Wonder Years, Grey’s Anatomy, and, this year, This Is Us. But Netflix may have just stolen the thunder right out from under the Pearson family.

The stunt nature of this release alone is enough to generate the kind of social media buzz money can’t even buy. Along with Raw and Oyelowo, The Cloverfield Paradox stars Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Bruhl,Chris O’Dowd, and Ziyi Zhang and is directed by Julius Onah. The film takes the Cloverfield mystery to space and by the end of the night may be Netflix’s most-watched movie ever. Watch your back, Adam Sandler, The Cloverfield Paradox will stream on Netflix right when the game ends.

Get Vanity Fair’s HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Joanna RobinsonJoanna Robinson is a Hollywood writer covering TV and film for VanityFair.com.

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