News of the World may reach the rest of the world before it reaches the States. The Paul Greengrass period drama starring Tom Hanks is currently working through a deal that would give its overseas distribution to Netflix, which would release the film on its streaming service internationally. Universal is still planning to release the film theatrically in the U.S. this December.
Deadline reports that Universal is currently making a deal to give the overseas distribution of News of the World to Netflix, which would release the film to international markets straight through its streaming service.
This isn’t an unusual tactic even in pre-COVID times. Films that studios thought might not be commercial success, like Paramount’s Annihilation, would be handed Netflix for international distribution to avoid taking too much of a hit at the box office. But this may become more of a common tactic as many U.S. theaters remain closed amid rising coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. Paramount has already done so with The SpongeBob Movie, and News of the World may be next.
Why only an overseas Netflix debut? Universal seems to be holding out for a 2020 theatrical release to ensure that News of the World is an Oscar contender, with awards season beginning to ramp up in the coming months. The Netflix deal will keep it eligible for BAFTAs abroad, but it gives the film a bigger global audience, Deadline notes.
But U.S. audiences might still get to see News of the World sooner than expected, thanks to the theatrical window deal that Universal struck up with AMC, allowing the theater-only run to be reduced to three weeks. News of the World will hit theaters on December 25, 2020, but can be released on PVOD as soon as 17 days later.
Based on the Paulette Giles novel, News of the World is directed by Greengrass, who wrote the script with Luke Davies. It stars Hanks, who reunites with his Captain Phillips director, as a Civil War veteran who agrees to take a stranded girl back to her family in a long and arduous journey across hundreds of miles.
Five years after the end of the Civil War, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl taken by the Kiowa people. Forced to return to her aunt and uncle, Kidd agrees to escort the child across the harsh and unforgiving plains of Texas. However, the long journey soon turns into a fight for survival as the traveling companions encounter danger at every turn — both human and natural.
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