Magnolia Pictures is delaying the release of “Slay the Dragon” by a month and overhauling the distribution plan for the documentary about gerrymandering, Variety has learned.
“Slay the Dragon” will open on April 3 instead of March 13 and will now be released on VOD and digital platforms. It was originally supposed to be released exclusively in theaters. The changes come amid concerns that the fast-spreading coronavirus could keep people from attending movie theaters and might even result in the closure of some cinemas if the rate of infection continues to accelerate.
Magnolia insiders say that the filmmakers were eager to make sure that as many people see “Slay the Dragon” as possible in a presidential election year.
“We saw what was happening with the spread of coronavirus and sat down with Magnolia to discuss a last-minute change in our release plan,” said directors Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance in a statement. “They took the concerns seriously and moved quickly, ensuring that nearly every home in America will have access to our film.”
“Slay the Dragon” follows citizens groups as they fight back against the practice of gerrymandering, the term for the controversial redrawing of electoral maps in a way that ensures single parties maintain control of local governments. The film premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, where it was widely acclaimed. Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman called it the “most important political film of the year.”
“There is no issue — not even Donald Trump — more threatening to the future of American democracy than gerrymandering, and the incisive and stirring new documentary about it feels like a moral game-changer,” Gleiberman wrote in his review.
Goodman and Durrance produced the film in addition to directing it. “Slay the Dragon” is a Participant presentation, in association with React Films, an Ark Media Production. The film is executive produced by Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Coralie Charriol Paul, and William von Mueffling. Grace McNally is co-producer. Co-executive producers are Daniel Simon and James Simon.