“Road House,” the upcoming remake of the 1989 cult classic that starred Patrick Swayze, unfortunately will not be screening in theaters upon its release next month.
While many action-movie fans may be disappointed they have to resort to streaming instead of watching it on the big screen, this news certainly upset the one person responsible for bringing the film to life: its director.
Known for his work on “Edge of Tomorrow” and “The Bourne Identity,” Doug Liman took Amazon MGM Studios to task for bypassing a theatrical release. In a guest column published by Deadline last week, Liman revealed he will be boycotting his own movie’s premiere to protest the studio’s decision.
“When ‘Road House’ opens the SXSW film festival, I won’t be attending,” he wrote. “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.”
South by Southwest (SXSW) selected “Road House” as its opening-night film for March 8, less than two weeks before the movie’s wider release.
“My plan had been to silently protest Amazon’s decision to stream a movie so clearly made for the big screen,” the director said. “But Amazon is hurting way more than just me and my film. If I don’t speak up about Amazon, who will? So here we go.”
Liman went on to reveal how he felt burned by Amazon MGM Studios, which pledged to release at least 12 theatrical movies a year after Amazon bought MGM in May 2021. Prior to the $8.5 billion acquisition, Liman already signed on to make “Road House” for cinemas.
However, Amazon film executives would only commit to releasing it in theaters under one condition.
“Amazon said make a great film and we will see what happens. I made a great film,” Liman put it plainly, saying he held up his end of the bargain.
“We made ‘Road House’ a ‘smash hit’ – Amazon’s words not mine,” he added. “‘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.”
The film also benefits from the UFC’s “rabid and loyal fan base,” which Liman said will be excited to see former UFC champion Conor McGregor trade blows with actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays the protagonist.
“What else could I have delivered to the studio? Nothing, it turns out. Because contrary to their public statements, Amazon has no interest in supporting cinemas,” Liman wrote.
Notably, his Deadline column was published January 24 — one day before the film’s official trailer was released online.
As of Thursday, the trailer garnered over 15 million views on Prime Video’s YouTube channel and 1.1 million views on the official MGM Studios X account.
Based on these numbers, it seems people are excited for a fun, old-school action movie reminiscent of the late 1980s. It’s a shame they can’t see it in theaters like the director intended.
Led by Gyllenhaal and McGregor, the “Road House” reboot will exclusively stream on Prime Video starting March 21.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.