The mind-bending Janelle Monáe thriller Antebellum is skipping theaters and will instead premiere on premium VOD on Sept. 18, it was announced Thursday by Lionsgate.
Advocacy filmmakers Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz wrote and directed the provocative film, which follows a successful author (Monáe) who finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality that forces her to confront the past, present and future — before it’s too late.
Jena Malone and Jack Huston co-star alongside Eric Lange, Kiersey Clemons, Gabourey Sidibe, Marque Richardson, Robert Aramayo, Lily Cowles and newcomer Tongayi Chirisa. Bush and Renz also produced the film with Raymond Mansfield and Sean McKittrick of QC Entertainment, the company behind Get Out, as well as Zev Foreman and Lezlie Wills.
Antebellum was originally scheduled for release on April 24 before the pandemic forced Lionsgate to push the film to Aug. 21. Rather than delay Antebellum again, Lionsgate opted for a PVOD release that will allow the movie to reach as wide an audience as possible, as soon as possible, given its timely themes. The film will still be released theatrically in select international markets.
“While the theatrical experience will always be the heart of our business, we are thrilled that we are able to seize the opportunity to match Gerard and Chris’s urgent and immediate film with a release strategy befitting this moment of extraordinary change,” said Lionsgate’s Joe Drake. “Gerard and Chris are storytellers whose work beats with authenticity — not only will this film entertain and thrill audiences worldwide, but spark a discussion about our current world.”
“While we designed Antebellum to be consumed as a communal experience in the theater, we are thrilled by the unique opportunity we have to pivot to a different kind of communal moment in our culture,” Bush and Renz said in a joint statement. “As we face the realities of systemic racism in our country, which have crescendoed to this current inflection point in 2020, we understand how imperative it is to bring Antebellum to the broadest audience possible, while also prioritizing health and safety. It is our ardent hope that by sharing our film widely, both nationally and internationally, we will transform the moviegoing experience from home into a true event.”