From his iconic debut in Swingers to action-packed thrillers like The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow, and more, Doug Liman’s films offer a distinct charisma. Renowned for his directorial skills, Liman took on the challenge of reinventing the beloved 1989 movie Road House. It featured Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, and Ben Gazzara.
As Road House gears up to kick off the SXSW film festival, a notable absence will be felt—Doug Liman himself. Despite his confidence in the movie’s excellence and its potential to captivate audiences, Liman has chosen to protest Amazon’s decision to stream a film clearly tailored for the big screen.
Liman signed up with MGM to create a theatrical masterpiece, and Amazon’s acquisition changed the game. Despite creating a movie that surpassed expectations and was deemed a “smash hit” by Amazon, Liman’s vision collided with the streaming giant’s agenda.
Road House is a movie tailor-made for cinema screens. But it is now slated for an exclusive release on Amazon Prime, contradicting the promised support for theatrical releases.
The repercussions extend beyond Liman and his team. The decision to stream Road House on Amazon Prime sidelines filmmakers and stars who miss out on the benefits of a theatrical success.
Jake Gyllenhaal has delivered a career-defining performance in the movie. But he now faces the prospect of being overlooked during award season—a missed opportunity attributed to the streaming platform’s strategy.
Liman offers a warning about the potential long-term impact on the film industry. If tentpole movies like Road House veer away from theaters, the very existence of movie theaters is at stake.
The filmmaker emphasizes the crucial role of movie theaters in shaping the industry’s future. He said to Deadline: “At the height of the pandemic there was a real possibility that movie theaters would not recover. We got comfortable watching movies at home. But then a remarkable thing happened when restrictions lifted. We started going back to the movie theater.”
Liman clarifies his stance—his opposition is not against streaming platforms in general. Having contributed to Amazon’s early foray into streaming and currently working on a project for Apple, Liman’s concern lies in Amazon’s apparent disregard for MGM’s theatrical legacy.