Netflix’s Idris Elba movie rejected by big four theater chains

If Netflix truly wants to give its latest big-ticket acquisition, Beasts of No Nation, a shot at winning Oscar gold, it’s going to have to do it without the help of the big four theater chains in the US.

Netflix plans to give the movie, which stars Idris Elba as a warlord who turns a young boy into a soldier, a theatrical release at the same time as it starts streaming it. However, AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and Carmike will not show Beasts of No Nation because they’re furious about the simultaneous release, according to Variety. There’s typically at least 90 days between a movie’s theater release and its debut on home entertainment.

For a movie to qualify for Oscar consideration, it needs to screen for at least a week in both New York and Los Angeles in a given year. But there’s at least some support for Beasts of No Nation in theaters, with the popular Alamo Drafthouse chain saying it will show the film.

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

Netflix could be able to persuade as many as 300 independent or art house cinemas to show the film, so it’s not completely dead in the water.

The company bought the distribution rights to Beasts of No Nation for $12m. Cary Fukunaga, the man who directed every episode of True Detective‘s first season, filmed the movie in Ghana last year.

As I mentioned in my last post about the film, getting some major awards consideration beyond the Best Documentary category Netflix has been able to land in the last couple of years could help its stature as a legitimate way for major filmmakers to get their work out there. It’s all part of a business plan for Netflix, because of course it wants to be able to tell the world, “Hey, you can stream last night’s Best Picture winner right now” after next year’s Academy Awards.

Whatever happens, I can’t wait to see the movie, whether it’s at the theater or on my couch.

Photo via Flickr/dfid