It looks like Zack Snyder is making a comeback to movie theaters with his upcoming zombie thriller Army of the Dead. The film, which was originally set to debut exclusively on Netflix, will now have a limited theater run beginning on May 14, a week before it’s scheduled Netflix release.
The film has been announced to play in over 200 Cinemark theaters, making Army of the Dead the first Netflix film to receive a wide release from a major theater chain. This also marks Cinemark’s first wide release of a streaming film, although earlier this year the company did hold small runs of many awards contenders.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, major theater chains; Cinemark, AMC, and Regal Cinemas have always refused to widely release streaming films. Cinemark’s announcement has led many to believe that theaters are easing their restrictions about releasing content made for streaming.
Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said “We’re in active discussions with Netflix, Apple TV, and others,” during a conference call this past March. ““We’re not talking about quantity, there’s a half-dozen pictures that are really important to some of the streaming services there are either big, important Academy [Awards] movies or bigger, mid-sized commercial films that we would be interested in playing. We would be open to a shortened window depending on what the financial terms were on that particular particular deal.”
Following smaller successful runs of films like The Midnight Sky, The Christmas Chronicles 2, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Netflix’s head of distribution Spencer Klein stated: “We are looking forward to the wider theatrical release of Army of the Dead.” He continues: “We are thrilled to offer consumers the opportunity to watch this highly anticipated film in theaters and on Netflix.”
As of now, Cinemark and Netflix have not yet confirmed any further collaborations, but they “anticipate there will be more to come.”
Army of the Dead will be released in theaters on May 14, and will be released on Netflix the following week on May 21.
The film follows a group of mercenaries who attempt to heist a Las Vegas casino during a zombie outbreak.