The decision marks Cinemark’s first wide theatrical release of a Netflix film, though the company began showing titles from the streamer last year in an effort to expand programming options during the pandemic. Prior to this, Netflix has given limited theatrical runs to some of its films — particularly its awards season contenders — though the company did not extend to larger theater chains until now.
Army of the Dead will also play at some regional chain locations, like Harkins Theatres, Landmark Theatres and Alamo Drafthouse. With about 600 theaters, this marks the largest theatrical release of a Netflix film. This is the first time a large theater chain and Netflix are collaborating on a release, an indication that theaters are easing on their historically hardline stance against streaming.
“We’re in active discussions with Netflix, Apple TV, and others,” Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said in a conference call in March. “There are either big, important Academy [Awards] movies or bigger, mid-sized commercial films that we would be interested in playing. We would be open to a shortened window depending on what the financial terms were on that particular deal.”
Though Cinemark or Netflix, have confirmed no further collaborations, the two companies said they “anticipate there will be more to come.”
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Another Zack Snyder film is setting a theatrical release for later this year. Since the director’s version of Justice League premiered on HBO Max in March, Snyder has stated that he plans to hold a handful of charity screenings in the fall. Warner Bros. has not officially confirmed any screenings at this time.
Army of the Dead stars Dave Bautista as the head of a group of mercenaries who attempts to pull off a casino heist in the middle of a zombie-infested Las Vegas. Snyder has confirmed that the current version has his stamp of approval, with no Snyder cuts necessary in the future.
J. Kim Murphy is a freelance entertainment writer.