LOS GATOS, CA—Saying that everyone, including all 65 million of its subscribers, really ought to see the film at least once, Netflix announced Tuesday that it will suspend all streaming content except Hard Eight for a full month.
Officials from the online video subscription service, which boasts a library of tens of thousands of movies and TV shows in addition to the first feature film by acclaimed writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, told reporters they will temporarily remove all other titles from the website and devote 100 percent of their server capacity to the 1996 neo-noir drama.
“We want to make sure every one of our members watches this thrilling character study of a veteran gambler and his young protégé, so for the entire month of October, Hard Eight will be the only video available on the entire site,” said chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who, upon discovering only a fraction of subscribers had ever seen the understated masterpiece starring Philip Baker Hall and John C. Reilly, immediately called a meeting of the Netflix board of directors and urged them to approve such a plan. “It’s an incredible, one-of-a-kind film, and a directorial debut no less. Not surprisingly, all four of its main actors went on to have huge careers. We can’t in good conscience stream any other piece of entertainment until all subscribers have viewed it.”
“Honestly, it’s worth seeing for Philip Seymour Hoffman’s career-launching cameo alone,” Sarandos added.
Company representatives explained that, for the next 30 days, visitors to the Netflix website will be greeted by a large static image of the movie’s poster, below which will appear dozens of identical Hard Eight icons that can be scrolled through and clicked upon in order to view the film. According to sources, every slot in every customer’s queue will be replaced with Hard Eight, and subscribers will periodically receive recommendation emails in which only Hard Eight will be suggested.
The provisional changes will also extend to the company’s DVD mail-order service, officials stated, with Netflix having already substituted every currently requested movie with one of several million recently purchased copies of Hard Eight.
Netflix representatives emphasized that the movie will remain customers’ only option for the entire month, regardless of whether they choose to watch it on day one or if they have previously seen Hard Eight months or years before, with officials noting that the complex, multilayered film is “worth watching several times.”
“We’re pleased to announce that, throughout October, our subscribers will be able to watch Hard Eight as much as they like—anytime, on any device, anywhere,” said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings, who added that he’s seen the opening sequence in which Sydney shows John the ropes of casino gambling “probably a hundred times” and he always finds something new in it to admire. “Best of all, once you’ve gotten to the end and the credits start rolling, Netflix will suggest you watch it again, and Hard Eight will automatically replay after 15 seconds.”
“I don’t want to give anything away, but the great scene where John and Clementine get themselves into that hostage mess, and then Sydney swoops in and just cleans everything up—that scene on its own requires at least two or three viewings to appreciate fully,” he continued.
Hastings went on to state that once the month is over, the film will be removed and replaced exclusively with Rounders, which may not be quite as impressive as Hard Eight, but is still a film you should really check out.