For the first time ever, Netflix Inc. NFLX, -1.16% will release its next zombie movie “Army of the Dead” in hundreds of theaters a week before its streaming debut. Cinemark CNK, -0.45%, the third-largest theater chain in the United States, said Tuesday that it will screen the Zack Snyder-directed film in more than 200 of its theaters beginning May 14. Variety reported that it will be screened in about 600 theaters in total. , even in smaller theater chains like Landmark and Alamo Drafthouse. It will not play on the two largest networks in the country, AMC AMC, -3.30% or CINE from Cineworld, -2.77% Regal Cinemas, according to Variety.
While Netflix has previously released some of its high-profile movies in theaters before they aired to gain Oscar eligibility, this will be by far Netflix’s most extensive theatrical release. It is also Netflix’s first theatrical release aimed at a mass audience. “Army of the Dead” stars Dave Bautista as the leader of a team of mercenaries trying to rob a Las Vegas casino vault in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. “Cinemark is pleased to work with Netflix on our first broad release and to provide movie lovers the opportunity to see ‘Army of the Dead’ in our theaters across the United States,” said Justin McDaniel, senior vice president of global content strategy. from Cinemark, statement. “Zack Snyder fans will love seeing the action in an immersive cinematic setting with incredible sound and sight technology. The movie will begin streaming on Netflix on May 21. Netflix has had a contentious relationship with movie theaters, which have struggled to maintain dedicated 90-day windows for movies and have largely resisted giving Netflix access to screens. But the pandemic has shaken up the movie business model, and theater chains have been undergoing changes, including shortening theatrical windows, and in the case of AT & T’s T, + 1.65% Warner Bros., eliminating them almost entirely, broadcasting. new movies for 31 days. starting the same day they hit theaters. The industry is slowly recovering after the pandemic forced cinemas to close for nearly a year. Most theaters across the country have reopened, though most still have capacity limits, and theaters are eagerly anticipating the return of viewers for the summer blockbuster season. “While this is the first general release of a Netflix movie in Cinemark theaters, companies anticipate more to come,” Cinemark added on Tuesday.