Amazon Studios’ first original film, Chi-Raq, is getting a lot of award buzz lately, and the decision to release the Spike Lee film in theaters this month instead of waiting until 2016 has proven to be a smart one for Amazon’s fledgling movie studio. However, with all of the hype surrounding the film, Amazon Prime subscribers have been wondering when they’ll finally be able to see Lee’s modern spin on the classic Greek comedy Lysistrata.
This week, Amazon finally gave subscribers an answer: Chi-Raq will be available on Amazon’s streaming video service February 4.
Directed by Lee, Chi-Raq tells the story of a group of women in Chicago who attempt to bring an end to the gun violence in the city by refusing sex to their partners until they give up their firearms. The film stars Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight) as a stand-in for the traditional Greek chorus, along with Teyonah Parris (Dear White People), John Cusack (Love & Mercy), Wesley Snipes (Brooklyn’s Finest), Nick Cannon (America’s Got Talent), Angela Bassett (American Horror Story), and Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls).
The film’s debut on Amazon Prime will happen just two months after it arrived in theaters, which is shorter than the three-month delay between a project’s theater premiere and digital release that’s usually demanded by major theater chains. It’s also notably longer than the simultaneous theater and digital release of the Netflix original film Beasts of No Nation, which premiered in theaters the same day as it it debuted on the streaming service earlier this year.
Chi-Raq was initially expected to debut in 2016, but Amazon decided to push its release up to December 4 due to the positive buzz surrounding the film and the desire to put it in this year’s major award conversation. The film earned a respectable $1.2 million over the course of its opening weekend, and was screened in 305 theaters for an average of approximately $3,900 per theater. The film has earned just over $2.5 million so far in its run.
Along with its current theater run, Chi-Raq can also be purchased for screening right now on Amazon and iTunes.
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