While the major theater chains are planning to open in mid-August in preparation for the September release of Warner Brothers’ ‘Tenet’, that plan isn’t guaranteed to work, as local and state governments in places such as New York, California, and New Jersey are putting their feet down and ordering that cineplexes stay shuttered to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (To read about the legal battle now raging in New Jersey, click here.) In response, the film studios are having to make some tough decisions as to whether to stay the course and wait for theaters to open to release their products as they originally planned, or to explore alternate forms of distributions, like streaming and PVOD (paid video on demand), or a mixture of release methods.
For its horror movie ‘Antebellum’, Lionsgate has chosen to skip the multiplex and release it straight to PVOD on September 18. Currently, ‘The King’s Man’ from 20th Century Studios is scheduled to release theatrically on that date. Lionsgate will release ‘Antebellum’ in theaters in some foreign markets.
Written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, their first film, ‘Antebellum’ stars Janelle Monáe as successful author Veronica Henley, finds herself teleported to the past and trapped in the horrifying reality of the US during the time of slavery.
Lionsgate’s chairman, Joe Drake stated:
“While the theatrical experience will always be the heart of our business, we are thrilled that we are able to seize the opportunity to match Gerard and Chris’s urgent and immediate film with a release strategy befitting this moment of extraordinary change. Gerard and Chris are storytellers whose work beats with authenticity – not only will this film entertain and thrill audiences worldwide, but spark a discussion about our current world.”
Bush and Renz added:
“While we designed Antebellum to be consumed as a communal experience in the theater, we are thrilled by the unique opportunity we have to pivot to a different kind of communal moment in our culture. As we face the realities of systemic racism in our country, which have crescendoed to this current inflection point in 2020, we understand how imperative it is to bring Antebellum to the broadest audience possible, while also prioritizing health and safety. It is our ardent hope that by sharing our film widely, both nationally and internationally, we will transform the moviegoing experience from home into a true event.”
Once again, ‘Antebellum’ will be released as a PVOD on September 18.