The horror film Antebellum from the producers of Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Us and starring Janelle Monae has been highly anticipated. Still, It had already been pushed back four months and then pulled from the release calendar. Now in a stunning turn of events, Lionsgate film chief Joe Drake has announced the decision to skip theaters and instead do a premium -on-demand release.
“I would love to see every one of our movies released theatrically,” the motion picture group chairman said during Lionsgate’s quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts. As many studios attempt to reckon with the loss of movie theater due to the COVID-19 pandemic releases, many of the films releases that we were expecting to enjoy on the big screen are finding new and creative ways to entertain the public.
“We believe very much in the theatrical business. As that opens back up, we’ll be ready to exploit it aggressively,” Drake said. “And yet, what you have seen at this moment is new opportunities being created. I look at the environment and, while it’s a little tough because theaters aren’t open, we’ve got more optionality and interesting ways to exploit our content for the consumer and so I think that going forward, we’ll be looking at all of those things.”
There are benefits to the premium on-demand release model. They keep a much higher share of revenue even if it is lower than a regular box office would be thanks to not having a 50-50 split with theaters. Disney on Tuesday shifted Mulan to a $29.99 premium on demand release on Disney+.
“With the extraordinary demand for content and the short supply,” Drake said, “the economics look really strong.”
Universal just reached a precedent-setting deal with AMC allowing films to shift from theaters to other streaming services after just 17 days this deal was followed by Universal’s non-theatrical spring roll out for Trolls World Tour.Antebellum is to have the movie premiere on premium on-demand platforms on Sept. 18