Janelle Monáe's time-twisting horror film Antebellum heading to VOD in September
Originally set for an April release before, well, you know, the film will now bypass U.S. theaters, arriving on VOD Sept. 18. Distributor Lionsgate announced the news Thursday, somewhat ironically calling the film "the ultimate big screen event" in a tweet. Antebellum will still have a theatrical run "in select international markets," according to a press release.
The film's release date was first pushed to Aug. 21 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, before it was temporarily pulled from the studio's schedule.
"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," writer-directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz said in a 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."
Antebellum stars Monáe as a successful writer who finds herself trapped in a nightmarish reality, with trailers showing her being transported to a slavery-era cotton field by a mysterious force. In a statement, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake also stressed the film's relevance to the country's current reckoning with its racist past and present.
"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," Drake said. "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."