Quibi, a company that tried to force people stuck at home during a pandemic to watch movies on the smallest possible screens, is now evidently pivoting to drive-in theatres — a move that is confounding if for no other reason that it defies the entire point of Quibi.
Collider announced last week that it was partnering with the (formerly?) short-form streaming service on a drive-in screening for its series The Stranger, which would be screened as a feature film at the Glendale Americana mall in Los Angeles. Quibi, per its own cursed marketing tagline, is short for “quick bites,” or bits of series that can be watched in 10 minutes or less. This is and has until now remained the entire point of Quibi’s existence, a streaming service for the moments you have nothing better to do than consume content.
The Stranger, a thriller series about a “rideshare driver” (Maika Monroe) who picks up a bad rider (Dane DeHaan), takes place in LA and is set over the course of 12 hours. According to the Hollywood Reporter, each chapter in the series was marked with a new hour marker, designating the timeline as events transpired over the course of the night.
Listen, I can’t speak to whether this format actually worked for this particular series. I binge-watched a number of early Quibi series, including the Sophie Turner-starring Survive, and honestly? It was fine. These productions are literally described by the platform as “movies in chapters.” And while I understand that Quibi is tapping into a moment in which many of us are pretty starved for the movie-going experience — not a truly safe option for the foreseeable future — pivoting to the antithesis of Quibi’s own self-described use case reads a little, uh, odd?
Quibi may not be the future of streaming, but it’s definitely an innovator of chaos.