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Netflix Sets Theatrical Release Date for First Original Film ‘Beasts of No Nation’

Netflix has set a theatrical release date for its first original film. Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation” will hit screens in select U.S. markets on October 16, the same day that it debuts worldwide on Netflix.

Netflix is partnering with Bleecker Street, the distribution company founded by Andrew Karpen last year, and Landmark to open the film in 19 markets served by Landmark Theatres.

“Beasts” will hit theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Indianapolis, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego.

This allows the Africa-set drama, starring Idris Elba, to be eligible for Oscar consideration. Its awards season chances were improved earlier this week when the pic was selected to screen at both the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.

It will go head to head with other awards hopefuls, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ Cold War thriller “Bridge of Spies,” Guillermo del Toro’s horror pic “Crimson Peak” and the family film “Goosebumps,” on October 16.

Unlike Landmark, most major theater chains, including Regal, AMC and Cinemark, have policies against playing films being released simultaneously on VOD or streaming services.

Based on the novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala, “Beasts” follows a child soldier (played by Abraham Attah) fighting in a civil war in an unidentified African country. Elba plays a warlord who takes the young boy under his wing.

Emmy winner Fukunaga most recently directed and exec produced the first season of HBO’s “True Detective.”

The movie is produced by Elba, Fukunaga, Amy Kaufman, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker and Dan Crown for Red Crown Productions. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King are executive producers for Participant Media; Donna Gigliotti is executive producer for Levantine Films; Elizabeth Koch and Kristina Kendall are executive producers for New Balloon; and Bill Benenson, Laura Bickford and Todd Courtney are also executive producers.

Netflix also released the film’s first teaser on Thursday.

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