We absolutely cannot wait for Alex Garland‘s film of Jeff VanderMeer’s stunning novel Annihilation, so we’re somewhat perturbed by the news that’s arrived this morning.
Deadline has announced that Paramount and Netflix are negotiating a deal that would give the international rights to the streaming service, and that Annihilation would only receive a “traditional” theatrical release in the US, Canada and China.
The movie, which stars Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Oscar Isaac, had been set for a UK theatrical release on 23 February, the same day as the US. Presumably, if this deal goes through, that date will be pushed to 17 days after the American theatrical release as per the deal.
There’s been no comment from Netflix or Paramount on this subject at the time of writing. Even if all this happens, there is a chance of a limited theatrical release, as we saw for Netflix’s original films like Okja and War Machine. (OKJA!!!!), especially given the pop culture cred of all involved (the guy made Dredd and Ex Machina, dammit, and that cast is absolutely incredible). However, the Deadline report notes that the perception that a film like this would make most of its theatrical take in the US, not internationally, makes a deal with Netflix very appealing.
On the one hand, if Annihilation‘s release was looking shaky, it’s great that it’s going to be picked up by a service that can bring it to an audience who might not have seen it otherwise. On the other, we are desperate to see what looks to be a beautifully made film, based on an incredibly atmospheric novel, on the big screen. We’ll be very interested to see how this one shakes out.
The film follows a “dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.”
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