What the hell is going on with the new Cloverfield movie, you may be asking. Last week we technically got semi-confirmation of the project’s impending arrival with the movie’s Alternate Reality Game ramping back up, but today the viral website has reverted to a previous homepage (maybe intentionally?). The film from director Julius Onah has bounced around Paramount’s release calendar to four different dates so far; it still doesn’t have an official title, though at one point expected to be titled God Particle (and still could be, according to the studio’s Brazilian site); and there’s been no official marketing thus far. Granted, mystery and surprise are the key ingredients to the Clover-verse campaigns, with the studio surprise-releasing the trailers for the first two films sans production announcement. But something seems fishy, and now a couple new reports might reveal why.

Yesterday, Jeff Snider of The Tracking Board threw a new rumor into the mill, tweeting that he heard rumblings at Sundance that Paramount may release the third movie on Netflix. Now it’s worth noting that anything can be said and heard around Sundance, so take this merely as a rumor. But it could bear some weight considering another Paramount title. The studio recently inked an international distribution deal with Netflix over Annihilation. The Alex Garland sci-fi film will get a traditional theatrical release in the U.S. on February 23, then land on Netflix 17 days later. Could Paramount be considering the same for the next Cloverfield?

The Netflix move is an interesting one to consider. On one hand, Paramount could shirk the 17-day delay deal they have over Annihilation and just surprise-drop Onah’s movie on Netflix same-day as theatrical release. But why go to a theater when you could watch it at home, right? That would be a real shame considering how much a space-bound thriller sounds like a film best experienced on the big screen, and how Cloverfield films are a unique kind of theatrical experience. Everyone remembers the first time they saw the 2008 movie, nauseating shaky cam and all. And seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane in the theater made the chilling sound design and sharp editing choices – the jarring opening credits car crash comes to mind most vividly – especially thrilling to watch. But watching a new Cloverfield movie on your TV or, god forbid, a little computer screen? What a waste.

But this Netflix rumor could have been one of many ideas passed around at Bad Robot. A recent report from Vulture suggests that J.J. Abrams is the one behind all the release date changes. Originally set to open last February, the film was bumped to October 2017, then this February, and is set to open on April 20 (for now). Vulture spoke to sources connected to the production and writes, “Abrams is personally behind the frequent rescheduling, and the moves are indeed part of a plan to foster drama and further intrigue surrounding the latest Cloverfield.” Hmm, that sounds like blatant way to distract from a project potentially riddled with problems.

The film has reportedly undergone reshoots to add scenes and narration, and after a spoilery plot leak last year, some heavy rewrites may have been done as well. Whatever is going on, it doesn’t exactly look great. Bad Robot better have a great surprise under their belts – perhaps a surprise Super Bowl trailer? One attached to Annihilation? If more clues arrive on the ARG sites (and if those sites actually go live again), then we can likely consider that confirmation of an impending release. But the how and where remains to be seen.

Gallery – All the Easter Eggs in Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane:


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