Janelle Monae's Antebellum Is Skipping Its Theatrical Run

Antebellum Janelle Monae confused in green light

If any studio has had a particularly rough 2020, it has to be Lionsgate. With pretty much the entire studio’s 2020 slate pushed into later than intended debuts, movies like Antebellum looked like far off prospects for entertainment and enjoyment. But this post Mulan on VOD world seems to be changing that particular tune, especially when it comes to the new Janelle Monae film, as Antebellum is skipping its U.S. theatrical run and debuting on Premium VOD in the next couple of months.

Through an official announcement through the film’s official Twitter, Antebellum’s “ultimate big screen event” has now been scheduled for a September 18th debut on Premium VOD. With the original debut slated for April 24, 2020; the closing of major theatrical chains due to world events necessitated that the mindbending horror film from writers/directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz be delayed to an August 21, 2020 theatrical debut.

That all changes today, as the story of Janelle Monae’s protagonist being mysteriously pulled from the modern day back into the days of American slavery is now heading to a TV screen near you. Though at this time, there’s no official announcement of a price point for the film, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Premium VOD window sees the movie starting out with a $19.99 rental fee. Which could lead to some other films making very similar decisions in the coming weeks.

If Lionsgate is amenable to releasing Antebellum to Premium VOD, and those results are promising enough, could this mean that we’ll see Spiral: From the Book of Saw making a surprise debut on PVOD at some point? While that particular film was pushed into a May 21, 2021 theatrical slot, a surprise drop at the right time could literally make a killing at the market. Though it seems highly unlikely that such a rogue deployment would happen in October, as another major horror film is poised to battle Antebellum more directly.

As director Nia DeCosta’s Candyman was delayed into an October 16th theatrical debut, and the Universal/AMC agreement looks like it’ll be using the legacyquel at hand to test out that shortened PVOD window, Antebellum’s September 18th release date feels like a direct challenge to that film’s plans. Just when you thought it was safe to write the 2020 release schedule off, something so major has just happened to make it all interesting again.

Whether it’s a response to Disney+’s new strategy pertaining to Mulan, or a challenge to the potential hybrid model that Candyman might be embracing, Antebellum is coming home a lot sooner than we thought. The film make history on PVOD, starting September 18th; with a limited theatrical run in select international markets still planned. So keep an eye on your local listings for further updates.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.