Lionsgate has revealed that it will debut on premium video-on-demand services on September 18th.
Although it was not considered to be a big blockbuster for the summer season, the film ‘Antebellum‘ starring Janelle Monae was expected to be something that would end up possibly becoming this year’s ‘US‘ or ‘Get Out‘, a low budget film, this time a time-bending thriller, that would make a ton of money and be acclaimed, showcasing Ms. Monae’s talents once again. Sadly, however, it is instead going to join the other movies that were due for cinematic release but thanks to COVID-19, have to make do with going straight to streaming on PVOD. Instead of opening in theatres on August 21st, it will now make its bow on September 18th on the many services that will carry it.
The synopsis of the film is:
‘Successful author Veronica Henley (Janelle Monae) finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before its too late. ‘Antebellum’ is a terrifying new thriller from the producer of the acclaimed films ‘Get Out’ and ‘US’, and groundbreaking directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz (Bush+Renz)-an exciting new voice in filmmaking’
The directorial pair and distributor Lionsgate did have the hope that their film would still gain a theatrical release but in a statement announcing their decision to release the film on PVOD instead, Lionsgate chairman Joe Drake said the studio was ‘Thrilled’ that they were able to release the film under the current conditions with ‘a release strategy befitting this moment of extraordinary change’. Drake did say the film was suited more to a cinema environment for its debut but that he and the studio were happy to release the film digitally instead and to get the product into the public domain.
Let’s make this perfectly clear. I am NOT in favor of films being released this way, in any shape or form. In my opinion (and this IS MY opinion), films like this, ‘Mulan‘, ‘Scoob!‘ and the others that have debuted on PVOD have been royally shafted. I can see the attraction of releasing the films this way in the current environment and the fear of audiences to once again step through the doors of a movie theatre, really I can. And for those who prefer this way of doing things, I’m most certainly not going to criticize them. But this isn’t the way I want to see my movies. This isn’t the way decent movies deserve to be treated. This isn’t how I want to see my entertainment debuted. I have seen many things said by people on social media regarding ‘Black Widow‘ and how, in their opinion, it HAS to go straight to streaming. I’m sorry but in my mind, you’re wrong. ‘Black Widow‘ SHOULDN’T go straight to streaming. ‘Black Widow‘ WON’T go straight to streaming.
‘Mulan‘ cost $200million to make and it would, quite possibly, have topped out at grossing around $750-800million worldwide. ‘Black Widow‘ is an almost certainly guaranteed $1billion+ grossing film. Disney knows this. And Disney won’t dare alienate the cinema chains in the US and around the world by denying the film a theatrical release. The cinema chains are already sharpening their knives against them for what they have done with ‘Mulan‘ and the way it has cost them, the cinemas, money. To do that with ‘Black Widow‘ would be suicide for Disney and they know it.
‘Antebellum‘ hits PVOD on September 18th.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!