Doug Liman will not be taking a trip to Austin in March for the premiere of his feature Roadhouse, the Amazon MGM remake of the 1989 Patrick Swayze feature that stars Jake Gyllenhaal.
The filmmaker is boycotting the premiere in protest of studio Amazon MGM declining to give the film a theatrical release, as it has done for features such as Ben Affleck’s Air. He revealed the news in a column published on Deadline, with his comments coming at a rather inopportune time for the marketing campaign for the film; Amazon plans to release the trailer Wednesday.
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Liman signed on to make Road House for MGM in 2021, prior to Amazon buying the studio. After its purchase of MGM, Amazon touted its intention to invest $1 billion in theatrical movies. “I can tell you what they then did to me and my film Road House, which is the opposite of what they promised when they took over MGM,” wrote Liman.
The filmmaker stated that Road House, which bows March 21 on the streaming service, received higher test scores than some of his biggest hits, including Mr. & Mrs. Smith and The Bourne Identity. And he said he begged Amazon to either put the film in theaters, or allow him to sell it to a studio that would. Both requests were denied.
Wrote Liman: “Amazon asked me and the film community to trust them and their public statements about supporting cinemas, and then they turned around and are using Road House to sell plumbing fixtures.”
In recent years, projects from streamers, like Air and Apple’s Napoleon and Killers of the Flower Moon have been granted traditional theatrical releases. Next up, Apple’s Argyle will get a global release via Universal. Liman himself has made streaming movies before, and says he is not opposed to them. He has Apple’s Instigators coming up.
“But I am opposed to Amazon gutting MGM and its theatrical business, as I would have been had Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post and then gutted its newsroom (he did the opposite),” wrote Liman.
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