Every chapter has an ending. Next week marks the end of one of The Minimalists’ most significant chapters: our first film, Minimalism, is exiting Netflix on June 15, 2022.
This particular chapter began nine years ago, in late 2013, when The Minimalists teamed up with director Matt D’Avella to film our first documentary. We didn’t know what it would be called, who would be in it, or how it might influence the world; we simply piled into Ryan’s Corolla and filmed a thousand hours of tour stops, minimalist interviews, and sunset time-lapses.
It took two years,
but after nine grueling iterations,
we finally produced a film we were proud of.
(and every other streamer)
turned us down.
So we released Minimalism independently in 400 theaters.
To our astonishment, it was the #1 indie doc of 2016;
it also won awards at several film festivals.
We returned to Netflix with these triumphs,
but the film was “too different”—
it didn’t conform to a formula.
So they rejected us again.
In fact, everyone declined.
But we didn’t let that stop us.
We released Minimalism online in 2016.
Again, we were surprised:
it climbed to #1 on iTunes
and stayed there for weeks that summer.
This online success restarted the conversations with Netflix;
they soon licensed the North American rights through a distributor.
Minimalism debuted on their platform on December 15, 2016.
The timing was perfect:
at that moment, Netflix
was the dominant streaming service,
and many people were looking to simplify—
especially during the consumeristic holiday season.
The kindling we provided
allowed Netflix to spark a conflagration.
Hundreds of media outlets
and dozens of famous people
shared the doc with their audiences.
Tens of millions of people watched.
the movie and the movement—
trended for months.
The film tapped into the cultural zeitgeist,
exposing a general dissatisfaction with materialism.
The attention and impact were overwhelming—so much so that Netflix licensed the worldwide streaming rights in March 2017, setting 190 countries ablaze with simple-living.
Minimalism performed so well that, in 2019, Netflix renewed the worldwide rights for three more years (they also purchased our second doc, The Minimalists: Less Is Now, as a Netflix Original).
as those three years come to an end,
so does our agreement with Netflix.
This is a bittersweet moment.
Even though Less Is Now will be featured at the Emmys later this month, we weren’t able to come to an agreement with Netflix, as hard as we tried, to keep Minimalism on their platform.
Ergo, you have a few days left
to watch Minimalism one last time on Netflix.
This isn’t a bad thing.
It’s merely the end of a chapter,
and the beginning of a new one.
We’ll eventually seek a new streaming home for Minimalism, but in the meantime, you’ll be able to watch it on demand via iTunes, Amazon, or Vimeo (the Vimeo version contains six hours of bonus interviews).
Big thanks to Netflix, and to everyone
who watched the film these last six years.
We are forever grateful.
You’ve changed our lives
as much as the film
has changed the lives of others.
—Joshua & Ryan
P.S. This news does not affect Less Is Now, which will continue to stream worldwide exclusively on Netflix.