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Netflix has acquired another movie, and it would like you to watch it in theaters, and then one more time online: The company will bring its new drama Beasts of No Nation in select theaters in the U.S. later this year, while simultaneously releasing it on its streaming service worldwide.
Beasts of No Nation, which tells the tale of an African child soldier, stars Idris Elba, who previously won a Golden Globe for his leading role in Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom. The movie cost [company]Netflix[/company] $12 million — a major investment for a company that has mostly concentrated on original TV show productions and has only recently begun to spend money on movies.
Last fall, Netflix announced that it has acquired the rights to a sequel of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which will be shown simultaneously in select iMax theaters and online. Netflix was planning to bring the movie to additional screens. However, AMC said that it wasn’t going be part of the release because Netflix isn’t honoring the traditional release windows, which give theaters a couple of months before a movie is available on DVD, and eventually on streaming services as well.
So why is Netflix going through the trouble of a theatrical release, if most theater chains won’t be playing ball? One word: awards. Beasts of No Nation only qualifies for the Oscars and other major motion picture awards if it is shown in theaters — even if most consumers may opt to watch it in the comfort of their own living room, as part of their Netflix subscription.