The Cloverfield Paradox would have been a theatrical failure. It's exactly the sort of B-grade sci-fi critics tend to eviscerate. So how do you generate hype for a movie that's practically doomed? If you're Netflix, you unveil a trailer during the Super Bowl with an unprecedented announcement: you'll be able to watch the film right after the game ends. No warning, no early reviews. It's the sort of "holy shit" moment you could only pull off if you're a global entertainment powerhouse. You could think of it as Netflix flexing its marketing muscles and mocking its competitors, "Do you even stream, bro?"
Just like with Bright, Netflix's awful but wildly successful Will Smith film, it doesn't matter if The Cloverfield Paradox, directed by Julius Onah, is any good. It's a vehicle for hype -- just take a look at how the internet reacted to its surprise availability last night (yes, I was a part of that too). While there were other high-profile trailer premiers during the Super Bowl -- notably a glimpse at Solo and Mission Impossible: Fallout -- only Netflix could immediately turn that hype into viewers. Disney will have to keep people's attention for months to make them see Solo. That's power.