Netflix is seeking to adopt its online-first strategy, which it used successfully for TV shows, to movies with its premiere on Friday of Cary Fukunaga's Beasts of No Nation.
The film hit the streaming service on Friday, a milestone for the film industry. It is one of the first feature films to debut in theaters and online at the same time.
Beasts of No Nation is based on a novel by Uzodinma Iweala and is a war drama that tells the story of a 14-year-old child soldier who loses his family and is recruited to fight under the command of a guerilla warlord played by Idris Elba, according to endgadget.com. The title of the film is the name of an album by African singer Fela Kuti.
Netflix has thought out its strategy carefully. By putting out the film in theatres, it makes the film eligible for an Osar award. The Oscar norms state that a company must ensure that movies appear online "on or after the first day" they are shown in theatres. Thus the film will open in theaters in the US and in the UK.
Beasts of No Nation is the latest example of a work that's dissolving the distinctions between television and film, according to theatlantic.com. Cary Fukunaga, who has written and directed it, has won fame in both mediums with Jane Eyre and Sin Nombre, and his Emmy-winning work on the first season of True Detective.
The plot: Agu lives a peaceful life in a village in West Africa which then plunges into civil war. Lost in the jungle, he is picked up and forced to become a child soldier by an unnamed commandant. "Rather than dismiss or kill him, in the film's most telling moment, the Commandant instructs his charges to respect Agu's potential. "A boy is a dangerous thing," he lectures, and Agu soon becomes one of his surrogate sons, toting an AK-47 and executing captured prisoners on orders," theatlantic.com says.
Netflix has many other movies in develoment. endgadget.com says it's teamed up with Adam Sandler for four new movies, signed Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Doran for war thriller Jadotville and is working ona sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.