Netflix’s Okja and War Machine will both be released in UK cinemas this year.
The streaming giant, which heads to Cannes this week to premiere Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories, has come under fire from the Cannes Film Festival in recent weeks for its decision not to release either in French cinemas. The move, which is due to France’s laws that prevent films screened in cinemas from being released online for three years, has prompted the festival to ban any online-only releases from the Croisette in future years.
As if to underscore its cinematic credentials, though, Netflix has now agreed with Curzon Cinemas to release its upcoming originals War Machine and Okja day-an-date in the UK.
The exhibitor, which has its own Curzon Home Cinema streaming platform, is no stranger to such innovation. Indeed, the pair previously teamed up to release Beasts of No Nation in 2015.
The Film Distributors Association confirmed to Screen Daily that both titles will play across Curzon’s 10 cinemas in the UK (six in London, the others in Canterbury, Sheffield, Ripon and Knutsford). The decision echoes Netflix’s day-and-date strategy in the USA, with Okja to receive a limited run at the iPic New York and LA and War Machine to play at Laemmie Santa Monica and iPic New York.
The satirical War Machine, directed by David Michod, stars Brad Pitt as charismatic four-star General Stanley McChrystal, who leaps in like a rock star to command NATO forces in Afghanistan, only to be taken down by a journalist’s no-holds-barred exposé. Egotistical, passionate, clueless and polarising, the film will recreate the general’s rise and fall as part reality, part savage parody. The cast includes Tilda Swinton, Sir Ben Kingsley, Anthony Michael Hall, Will Poulter, Emory Cohen and Scoot McNairy.
Swinton also stars in Okja, the latest film from Bong Joon-ho. The sci-fi, co-written with Jon Ronson, follows young Mija (An Seo Hyun), who, for 10 years, has been caretaker and constant companion to a giant creature name Okja at her home in the mountains of South Korea. But that changes when the family-owned multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation takes Okja for themselves and transports her to New York, where image-obsessed and self-promoting CEO Lucy Mirando (Swinton) has big plans for Mija’s dearest friend.
War Machine will be released in cinemas and on Netflix on Friday 26th May. Okja will be released in cinemas on Friday 23rd June, ahead of its Netflix release on 28th June. The latter will have its world premiere at Cannes this Friday.