For a long time, the major Hollywood studios and the theatrical industry in general viewed the rise of the streaming service with a mixture of skepticism and disdain. For theater chains, companies like Netflix and Amazon were taking money directly out of their pockets by making big budget movies available to audiences from the comfort of their own homes at the push of a button, while up until recently streaming exclusives were barred from awards season consideration unless they’d played on the big screen for at least a short period of time.
Tensions appear to be thawing somewhat, though, following the announcement that Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead will score the largest cinema release for any Netflix original when it premieres next Friday on roughly 600 screens, a week before it gets added to the content library, as you can see below.
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) May 4, 2021
The filmmaker’s last streaming exclusive may have been denied a theatrical bow after Justice League stayed strictly on HBO Max, but he hasn’t faced any similar issues for the upcoming apocalyptic actioner. It was Cinemark who got the ball rolling when they agreed to play Army of the Dead in 200 locations, before several independent and regional chains followed suit, and some of the bigger companies might yet end up jumping on the bandwagon.
Presumably, the bigwigs in the theatrical industry have been forced to put their opposition towards the myriad of streaming services on the back burner as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, which saw the box office completely decimated and the release schedule reduced to a barren wasteland, all while viewership for subscriber-based platforms skyrocketed by 85%. In any case, Army of the Dead is definitely a solid choice to try and draw in audiences, given the loyalty of Snyder’s fanbase and its high concept premise about a casino heist set during a zombie uprising.