One of the movies we were most excited about in 2024 was Doug Liman's Road House. The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal and was going to be the kind of cinematic experience that demands the biggest screen possible.

There was an electric buzz around the film, with rumors of it testing through the roof. It was set to debut at SXSW and have a trailer drop tomorrow.

But, much to the dismay of Roadhouse fans a many, news today derailed a lot of excitement around the movie.

Director Doug Liman wrote an opinion piece in Deadline, in which he announced he would be boycotting the film's premiere after learning that Amazon does not plan to release it theatrically.

It'll go straight to streaming, where people will watch at home. Nobody ever wins a fight.


Liman wants answers as to how this is smart business.

Liman was surprised by Amazon's decision, saying, "I signed up to make a theatrical motion picture for MGM. Amazon bought MGM. Amazon said make a great film and we will see what happens. I made a great film."

Even the casual observer can see the box office potential in this movie. It's a huge action movie with an A-list star and the UFC audience primed to watch.

Liman writes in his letter, "We made Road House a 'smash hit'—Amazon’s words not mine, btw. Road House tested higher than my biggest box office hit, Mr. and Mrs Smith. It tested higher than Bourne Identity, which spawned four sequels. I’m told the press response has been Amazon’s best since they bought MGM. Road House has a strong tie-in to the UFC, which has a rabid and loyal fan base that has spawned over 1.5 billion social media impressions for the film, and marketing hasn’t even started yet. The action is ground-breaking. And Jake Gyllenhaal gives a career-defining performance in a role he was born to play. Audiences will want to see UFC mega-star Conor McGregor take his debut swing at Jake on the big screen. The reality is there’s nothing quite so fun as a good bar fight."

Liman's main worry is that the industry needs theatrical hits to keep going. And the more we move blockbusters to streaming, the more we place a burden on theaters to stay open. And how can they do that if we don't put our biggest movies there to make them some money?

Liman expanded on this idea: "The fact that we still have movie theaters after the global pandemic didn’t happen by accident. It happened because brave filmmakers like Chris Nolan and Tom Cruise insisted their movies play in the theater, and they proved audiences are still there. They proved that despite everything, we still enjoy gathering and sharing in the communal experience of watching a film together. People love going to the movies, despite the convenience of streaming. They are not mutually exclusive. In fact, data shows that movies do better on streaming if they have been released theatrically first."

We should all be afraid of movie studios doing this. and Liman cites in the letter this may be a decision based on a computer algorithm and not a human's intuition. the more we move this industry toward that, the more we are going to lose in the long run.

Part of the art of film is the idea that you take it in with other people in a communal experience.

Once that's gone, it may feel like we're just making another product for places like Amazon to sell. And I don't know about you, but I didn't get into Hollywood to sell widgets.

Let me know what you think in the comments. For Liman, I guess it's time to not be nice.