Alamo Drafthouse Won’t Join Theater Chain Boycott Of Netflix Movie

Though Netflix is giving Beasts of No Nation a simultaneous release in theaters and on its subscription service, the film will have limited early theatrical screenings to qualify for awards consideration.

Though Netflix is giving Beasts of No Nation a simultaneous release in theaters and on its subscription service, the film will have limited early theatrical screenings to qualify for awards consideration.

Yesterday, Netflix announced that it would be releasing a new movie, Beasts of No Nation, later this year simultaneously on its streaming service and in theaters, leading the nation’s biggest exhibitors to cry boycott and say they will refuse to show the film. But not Alamo Drafthouse, which doesn’t seem fazed by having to compete for consumers who can just stay home and see the movie.

The four largest theater chains — AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and Carmike — have all said they won’t show the movie about child soldiers in Africa from True Detective director Cary Fukunaga, because Netflix is violating the traditional minimum 90-day window between theatrical release and appearing online.

But Tim League, CEO and founder of the growing Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse chain tells Variety he’s “agnostic” about these long-observed divisions between theatrical and home video releases.

“I look at films I want to play and I play them regardless of the release strategy,” he explains, saying that he’s had success with films like last year’s hyper-violent sci-fi flick Snowpiercer, which did well for Alamo while it was simultaneously available on-demand for home viewers.

“I don’t look at myself as a competitor to Netflix,” explains League. “I think that argument is a little bit of a red herring. I watch a lot of movies at home, but there comes a time where I want to get out of the house. I look at cinemas as one of those options that compete with restaurants or baseball games or all of those things I can’t do in my living room.”

There have been a growing number of films hitting on-demand video services like Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, or iTunes while they were still in theaters, but many have been very small art-house productions that get poor theatrical distribution outside of the major metropolitan markets.

And even though Beasts boasts a hot young director and the starpower of lead actor Idris Elba, it probably still wouldn’t have played more than a few hundred theaters during its theatrical release.

What seems to have raised exhibitors’ ire is that Netflix itself is releasing the movie and that the film will be available for no additional cost to Netflix subscribers.