Amazon has announced its release strategy for Spike Lee‘s Chi-Raq according to Deadline. The studio previously announced that the movie would release in December but they have now said the film will hit theaters December 4 in major cities, shortly followed by a release on their online service.
The film is an adaptation of the Greek play Lysistrata where Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris, Dear White People) gives up sex to protest black-on-black violence in Chicago. The film stars John Cusack (Love and Mercy), Common (Selma), Jeremy Piven (Entourage), and Jennifer Hudson (TV’s Empire), as well as Samuel L. Jackson (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Wesley Snipes (The Expendables 3), Angela Bassett (Black Nativity), Nick Cannon (American Son), Dave Chappelle (Undercover Brother), and D.B. Sweeney (Eight Men Out).
Releasing the film exclusively in theaters for a time is a stark contrast to how Netflix is releasing their films simultaneously in theaters and on their streaming service. The move was likely made to appease theater owners as all the major theater chains have announced that they will not carry any of Netflix’s films. Netflix’s recent theatrical entry Beasts of No Nation (which opened in October) also saw very small box office numbers.
Amazon has not made any announcements as to when they will release the film on their streaming service. It’s likely the film’s performance in limited theaters will dictate whether the film expands theatrically before Amazon decides to put the film online.