Netflix’s first feature film, Beasts of No Nation, to get UK theatrical release

Beasts of No Nation

It hasn’t been easy for Netflix to find theater chains willing to screen its first feature film, Beasts of No Nation. Many major chains decided to boycott the movie after the company announced plans to make it available for streaming the same day it opens in theaters. Along with a limited U.S. theatrical release, though, Beasts of No Nation will now be screened in the U.K., according to THR.

Curzon Cinemas, a U.K. art house chain, has signed a deal with Netflix to bring the film to a selection of its 10 venues. The agreement, announced Monday, comes with less than a month to go till the movie’s Oct. 16 release date. Prior to its theatrical run, Beasts of No Nation will premiere in the U.K. at the BFI London Film festival on Oct. 8.

Starring Idris Elba and directed by Cary Funkunaga, the film has already been positively received at the Venice Film Festival. It’s based on the novel by the same name by Uzodinma Iweala, which follows Agu, a young boy who becomes part of a group of brutal mercenary fighters. Agu is portrayed in the film by Abraham Attah, while Elba plays Commandant, the man who trains him to become a child soldier.

In the U.S., Netflix previously established an agreement with Bleecker Street that would bring the film to a limited number of Landmark theaters. Between the U.S. and the U.K., it will be interesting to see how Beasts of No Nation will fare in theaters, as its simultaneous streaming and theatrical release is unprecedented. Should the movie perform well at the box office, we may see more theaters clamoring to screen Netflix films, but should it crash, the streamer-turned-studio may not find any more chains willing to experiment. In that case, the company would likely have to revisit their release strategy.

Beasts of No Nation opens in select U.S. and U.K. theaters on Oct. 16; it will also be available that day for worldwide streaming on Netflix.