Netflix’s first-ever theatrical release is now available to the public, both in cinemas and online.
Beasts of No Nation, directed by True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga, debuted Oct. 16. It tells the story of a warlord (Idris Elba) in an unnamed west African nation, and Agu (Abraham Attah), the child soldier he takes and instructs in the ways of war. The film premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival and has received acclaim on the festival circuit, with Attah securing the Marcello Mastroianni Award, given to the best newcomer at the Venice Film Festival.
The film, however, will not be seen in many major U.S. theater chains.
Representatives from AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike have all reportedly said they will not screen the film in protest of its same-day availability on SVOD. Feature films normally have a 90-day window between theatrical releases and home-video releases. AMC owns 350 theaters across the U.S., Regal operates 571 locations, Cinemark operates 334 and Carmike operates 270.
Independent theater chain Alamo Drafthouse, which has 19 locations across the U.S., expressed support for the film and will show it at its locations, according to Variety magazine. Netflix has not released a list of theaters showing the film.
Netflix trumpeted the release of Beasts of No Nation in its recent Q3 earnings report, identifying it as an “early Oscar hopeful” as a result of its festival successes. Only feature films that are released in theaters are eligible for Oscar consideration, so the film could be Netflix’s first shot at a coveted golden statue (the SVOD, however, has won Emmy awards for its originals).