×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Major Theater Chains to Boycott Netflix’s ‘Beasts of No Nation’

Major theater chains are refusing to show “Beasts of No Nation,” the Cary Fukunaga drama that Netflix bought this week for $12 million, because the company is debuting the film simultaneously on its streaming service.

The country’s four largest exhibitors — AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike — separately told Variety that they do not plan to show the drama about child soldiers in Africa because they do not want to provide screens to films that do not honor what is typically a 90-day delay between a theatrical debut and a home entertainment release.

In a release touting the deal, Netflix said the picture will have a qualifying run for Oscar consideration in “select theaters” later this year — language that seemed to acknowledge that “Beasts of No Nation” will have trouble securing a berth in many theaters. After all, there’s a precedent. When Netflix announced last fall that it will partner with the Weinstein Company and Imax on a sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” most exhibitors refused to show the film.

Not everyone has a problem with the concept of simultaneous home entertainment and theatrical releases. The Alamo Drafthouse, an independent chain with 19 theaters in such states as Texas, New York and California, said it will screen the picture.

“I’m agnostic about this sort of thing,” said Tim League, the company’s CEO and founder. “I look at films I want to play and I play them regardless of the release strategy.”

League noted that Alamo Drafthouse had success showing “Snowpiercer,” even though that science-fiction adventure debuted last summer on-demand while it was still in theaters.

“I don’t look at myself as a competitor to Netflix,” said League. “I think that argument is a little bit of a red herring. I watch a lot of movies at home, but there comes a time where I want to get out of the house. I look at cinemas as one of those options that compete with restaurants or baseball games or all of those things I can’t do in my living room.”

Insiders say “Beasts of No Nation” could get exhibited at roughly 200 to 250 arthouse and independent theaters. Fukunaga’s success on “True Detective” made him a favorite with artistic-minded viewers and star Idris Elba has a following.

The film could have had a more traditional release plan. Netflix beat out specialty distributors such as Focus and Fox Searchlight for rights to the picture because its backers felt that the company offered a larger audience for the film.

“This movie will have the muscle of Netflix behind it,” said Amy Kaufman, a producer on the film. “It will definitely be seen by a lot more and different kinds of people through Netflix than it would have through a traditional platform.”

Kaufman argues that the quality of Netflix shows and documentaries such as “House of Cards” and “Virunga,” as well as television programming like HBO’s “True Detective,” is altering people’s perceptions of where and how they consume content.

“It could be a game changer,” she said. “This has the potential to change the way people perceive how movies and art are delivered to them.”

More Film

  • Aquaman

    China Box Office: ‘Aquaman’ Sinks All Challengers With $94 Million Opening

    The decision to release “Aquaman” in China two weeks prior to its North American outing paid off handsomely. The DC Comics adaptation achieved a massive $94.1 million opening in three days, according to data from Asian entertainment consultancy Artisan Gateway. The early release meant that the film played against weak opposition – tired Hollywood and [...]

  • Alfonso Cuarón, Emmanuel Lubezki Discuss the

    Alfonso Cuarón Details 'Roma' Cinematography With 'Gravity' DP Emmanuel Lubezki

    As part of an overall push to bring Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” to awards season voters, Netflix’s “‘Roma’ Experience'” played host to guild and Academy members Sunday in Hollywood. The all-day event featured panels focused on the film’s crafts and an audio-visual installation akin to the streamer’s FYSee initiative for Emmy contenders, featuring costumes and art [...]

  • IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for

    IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for ‘On The Job’ Franchise

    Filipino director Erik Matti is known for his eclectic body of work that includes “Honor Thy Father” and “Seklusyon.” His 2013 effort, “On The Job” travelled widely and won several awards including two at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, and was nominated for an SACD Prize at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Matti is at [...]

  • Joan Chen attends the season premiere

    Joan Chen Talks Diversity in Hollywood, Welcomes #MeToo

    Chinese-American actress, writer and director Joan Chen says that she was flattered when Time magazine described her as the “Elizabeth Taylor of China.” When asked at an in-conversation event in Singapore on Saturday whether she paved the way for Chinese actresses to follow in Hollywood, Chen said, “We never go to work because we want [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • IFFAM Actress in Focus: Yao Chen

    IFFAM Actress in Focus: Yao Chen Talks Performing, Producing and Public Pressure

    Macao’s Actress in Focus is a woman who has trained as a boxer, likes British actors, especially Benedict Cumberbatch and Jeremy Irons, and is now setting out her stall as a producer. Yao Chen has built a career over 20 years thanks to TV shows including “My Own Swordsman,” and films including “If You Are [...]

  • Bradley Liew's 'Motel Acacia' Shoots After

    Cautionary Tale, 'Motel Acacia' Under Way After Four Years of Development

    Production has begun on Malaysian director Bradley Liew’s upscale horror film “Motel Acacia.” With a clearly topical message, the film features a hotel bed that eats immigrants. Actor, JC Santos called it: “A cautionary tale of what’s going to happen in the future.” Indonesian star, Nicholas Saputra said the he agreed to the role “because [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content