Netflix May Have Turned Down 'Holmes And Watson' For Being Too Elementary

No one likes Holmes and Watson, not even Netflix. The Sherlock Holmes comedy starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly is one of the worst-reviewed films of the year, and rumor has it, Sony saw this coming. After disastrous test-screenings, and several release date changes, the studio allegedly tried to sell the film off to Netflix. But Netflix, in a rare moment of restraint, said no.

There are some great movies on Netflix – Roma being the latest example. But there's also a fair amount of crap. The streaming giant doesn't have the most discerning eye, and in the past, they've bought titles that probably wouldn't stand much of a chance in theaters. This year, for instance, Paramount offloaded The Cloverfield Paradox, the third Cloverfield film, to the streamer. And once everyone got a look at it, it was clear why: the movie was quite bad.

But there's one movie not even Netflix wanted to touch: Holmes and Watson. The Etan Cohen-directed comedy was dumped unceremoniously into theaters on Christmas Day, and proceeded to earn itself a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes (it's since risen to 7%, so things are looking up!). Now, rumors are surfacing that claim Sony tried to offload the movie to Netflix, and the streaming service passed. The Wrap reporter Alonso Duralde said as much on Twitter today:

Deadline also has a quote about this in a recent story:

We had heard for quite some time that test scores for Holmes & Watson were so bad that Sony tried unloading the movie to Netflix, but the streamer wouldn't buy it.

It's not surprising to hear that Sony wasn't very confident about the movie. The comedy started filming in 2016, and Sony proceeded to shift the release date four different times. It was first scheduled to arrive August 3, 2018. Then the studio bumped it to November 9, 2018. It was pushed yet again to December 21, 2018, before finally settling on December 25. Sometimes, a release date change is done to maximize profits. In this case, it's clear the studio didn't know what the hell to do with the film, and kept delaying the inevitable.

Still, it's surprising to hear that Netflix passed this up. The streaming platform really has nothing to lose – except money, of course – in acquiring a title like this. In fact, it's safe to assume that more people would happily stream Holmes and Watson from the comfort of their own homes rather than venturing out to plop down hard-earned cash at a theater. Is this the start of a change for Netflix? Are they becoming more selective now? We've reached out to Netflix for a comment, and will update when and if we hear back.