Janelle Monae film Antebellum skips theatrical release, goes to Premium VOD

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Lionsgate recently removed their "terrifying thriller" ANTEBELLUM from the theatrical release schedule, which was the second time they have had to do that during the pandemic. ANTEBELLUM was originally supposed to reach theatres on April 24th, then it was moved to August 21st. Now Lionsgate has announced that the movie won't be released to theatres in the United States at all. The decision has been made to send it directly to Premium Video-on-Demand, where it will be available for the price of $19.99 as of September 18th.

While ANTEBELLUM won't be on the big screen in the U.S., it will still get some theatrical play in other countries.

Written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, the film stars Janelle Monae as 

successful author Veronica Henley, who finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it's too late. 

Monae is joined in the cast by Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Gabourey Sidibe, and Lily Cowles.

Lionsgate Motion Pictures Group chairman Joe Drake had this to say about the VOD decision: 

While the theatrical experience will always be the heart of our business, we are thrilled that we are able to seize the opportunity to match Gerard and Chris's urgent and immediate film with a release strategy befitting this moment of extraordinary change. Gerard and Chris are storytellers whose work beats with authenticity — not only will this film entertain and thrill audiences worldwide, but spark a discussion about our current world."

Bush and Renz released the following statement: 

While we designed ANTEBELLUM to be consumed as a communal experience in the theater, we are thrilled by the unique opportunity we have to pivot to a different kind of communal moment in our culture. As we face the realities of systemic racism in our country, which have crescendoed to this current inflection point in 2020, we understand how imperative it is to bring ANTEBELLUM to the broadest audience possible, while also prioritizing health and safety. It is our ardent hope that by sharing our film widely, both nationally and internationally, we will transform the moviegoing experience from home into a true event."

It remains to be seen when theatres will be able to safely re-open in the U.S., so it's understandable any time a studio decides to skip a theatrical release and send their movies to VOD and streaming services.

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Source: Variety

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.