EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios has set the release strategy for the Spike Lee-directed Chi-raq, which is the company’s first theatrical feature play. Amazon has set a December 4 release date and has brought in Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate to get this going with an exclusive theatrical release that is expected to cover the major cities in the U.S. Roadside and Lionsgate have teamed often on prestige film fare.
Scripted by Lee & Kevin Willmott, the film is inspired by the Greek comedy Lysistrata but it has a hot-button subject, and that is one of the reasons it will be released five weeks out. The film is set in Chicago’s South Side, and covers the subjects of gang violence and clashes with police, a subject that most certainly has been in the news. The film stares Samuel L. Jackson, Teyonah Parris, John Cusack, Wesley Snipes, Nick Cannon, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Harry Lennix, and D.B. Sweeney.
In releasing its first feature film exclusively in theaters, Amazon’s windowing is different from the one employed by Netflix, which simultaneously opened the Cary Fukunaga-directed Beasts of No Nation on its streaming service worldwide, along with a limited theatrical release.
It was not immediately clear when Amazon will put Chi-raq on its own service. Those details will likely be revealed soon, but they’ve got a date and the marketing and awareness effort will begin imminently. IM Global is selling international at AFM.