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Road House: Amazon Using Film To "Sell Plumbing Fixtures" Says Liman

After Amazon announced that the Road House remake was skipping theaters for Prime Video, director Doug Liman went off on the studio.

Article Summary

  • Road House remake skips theaters, angering director Doug Liman.
  • Liman blasts Amazon for using film to push sales on Prime Video.
  • Remake tested higher than Liman's past hits, features UFC star Conor McGregor.
  • Liman urges Amazon to reconsider, Road House debuts March 21 on Prime Video.

Road House started its marketing push this morning by releasing the first poster and announcing the release date on Prime Video. That release date has caused some controversy today, as many thought the MGM/Amazon film would be in theaters, even if for a short time. It turns out that is not the case. And director Doug Liman, who made the remake and said it is "the best film of my career," is big-time mad about it. In a scathing editorial published on Deadline, the director went in on Amazon, their purchase of MGM, how he feels lied to about the film's release, and said they are using Road House "to sell plumbing fixtures."

Road House: Remake With Jake Gyllenhaal Sets Debut Date On Prime Video
Credit Amazon Studios

Road House Should Be In Theaters, He Is Right

From the editorial:  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. 

What else could I have delivered to the studio? Nothing, it turns out. Because contrary to their public statements, Amazon has no interest in supporting cinemas. Amazon will exclusively stream Road House on Amazon Prime. Amazon asked me and the film community to trust them and their public statements about supporting cinemas, and then they turned around and are using Road House to sell plumbing fixtures.

He also speaks a lot about how Amazon is going back on its promise to creatives to support theaters and gets in a few more shots about algorithms and such: The reality is there may not be a human villain in this story – it may simply be an Amazon computer algorithm. Amazon will sell more toasters if it has more subscribers; it will have more subscribers if it doesn't have to compete with movie theaters. A computer could come up with that elegant solution as easily as it could solve global warming by killing all humans. But a computer doesn't know what it is like to share the experience of laughing and cheering and crying with a packed audience in a dark theater – and if Amazon has its way, future audiences won't know either.

Road House: Amazon Using Film To "Sell Plumbing Fixtures" Says Liman
Doug Liman at JUMPER Premiere, Ziegfeld Theatre, New York, NY, February 11, 2008. Image via Shutterstock/Everett Collection

He is one hundred percent right. He is somewhat dramatic, but he believes in his film, and as someone who has made quite a few crowd-pleasers and blockbusters, he should be someone Amazon is listening to. He couldn't be more on point when he talks about how big the UFC audience is, and Conor Mcgregor is one of the most popular athletes in the world; don't you think people would go to the theater to see him act? When Jake did his UFC stunt in the Octagon last year, filming at an actual live event in the cage, people went crazy for it. Why do these streaming studios keep missing the fact that when they give these films a couple weeks in theaters and a real release, they make money? Hell, Amazon themselves did it last year with Ben Affleck's Air, so they know already.

Hopefully, they change their minds. If not, Road House debuts on Prime Video on March 21st.

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Jeremy KonradAbout Jeremy Konrad

Jeremy Konrad has written about collectibles and film for almost ten years. He has a deep and vast knowledge of both. He resides in Ohio with his family.
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