Road House director Doug Liman is furious with Amazon’s plans for the release of his movie and has spoken out passionately about his feelings. He also plans to boycott the premiere of his film which will be opening the SXSW Film Festival.
Amazon have opted against a theatrical release of Road House and will instead launch the film on their streaming platform Prime Video for subscribers. In a guest column for Deadline Liman explains his feelings towards Amazon, even suggesting they put subscribers and the sale of toasters ahead of people getting to experience the film in a theater.
“I signed up to make a theatrical motion picture for MGM. Amazon bought MGM. Amazon said make a great film and we will see what happens. I made a great film. Road House tested higher than my biggest box office hit, Mr. and Mrs Smith. It tested higher than Bourne Identity, which spawned four sequels. I’m told the press response has been Amazon’s best since they bought MGM. Road House has a strong tie-in to the UFC, which has a rabid and loyal fan base that has spawned over 1.5 billion social media impressions for the film, and marketing hasn’t even started yet.”
“The reality is there may not be a human villain in this story it may simply be an Amazon computer algorithm. Amazon will sell more toasters if it has more subscribers, it will have more subscribers if it doesn’t have to compete with movie theaters. A computer could come up with that elegant solution as easily as it could solve global warming by killing all humans. But a computer doesn’t know what it is like to share the experience of laughing and cheering and crying with a packed audience in a dark theater and if Amazon has its way, future audiences won’t know either.”
Liman believes Amazon’s strategy hurts more than himself and feels he needs to speak up and protest, so much so he will not attend the premiere saying,
“When Road House opens the SXSW film festival, I won’t be attending. The movie is fantastic, maybe my best, and I’m sure it will bring the house down and possibly have the audience dancing in their seats during the end credits. But I will not be there. My plan had been to silently protest Amazon’s decision to stream a movie so clearly made for the big screen. But Amazon is hurting way more than just me and my film. If I don’t speak up about Amazon, who will?”