Universal’s sci-fi horror thriller Extinction was supposed to hit theaters on January 26th of this year, but was inexplicably dropped from their release schedule 2 months before it was set to debut.
Today Netflix announced they had acquired the film for a streaming-only release later this year. The film, which stars Michael Peña and Lizzy Caplan, is about a father’s struggle to protect his family during an alien invasion, after having had recurrent dreams about losing them.
This is the third science fiction film for the year that’s had its theatrical run dropped or reduced in favor of a Netflix release, after The Cloverfield Paradox (streaming on Netflix as of Feb. 4th) and Annihilation (hits theaters in the US and China on Feb. 23, Netflix in the rest of the world March 11th).
I’m beginning to wonder if Blade Runner 2049’s sluggish box office performance has studios getting cold feet about these other sci-fi projects. They may not want to bother with a huge marketing budget if they think there won’t be broad interest and they can recoup their costs with streaming deals. There’s also a decently high probability, if The Cloverfield Paradox is any indication, that these movies just aren’t very good, and people will be more likely to watch them at home rather than make their way to a theater.
The alien invasion angle for Extinction is interesting, and if it keeps the invasion in the background in favor of telling a more personal story about this one family’s experience, it could make for a sleeper sci-fi hit.
Also, call me crazy, but the plot description sounds very similar to 2011’s Take Shelter, which also deals with a father taking steps to protect his family after having apocalyptic visions.
Extinction will release on Netflix at an unspecified time later this year.