This isn't exactly news, but the movie business is looking very different from what it once did. It used to be that most movies would get lovely red carpet premiere events at lovely theaters and celebrities would be on hand to talk to the press and wave at fans and perhaps sign a few autographs. Now, that's not really happening. Still, Janelle Monae's new film Antebellum was given a red carpet premiere event, it was just a bit different because everybody was wearing masks, and it took place at a drive-in rather than an ornate movie palace.
Technically speaking, Antebellum's premiere was a "black carpet" event, as that was the actual color of the carpet that Janelle Monae and others walked down. Beyond that, it perhaps didn't look all that different from a traditional red carpet in many ways. Variety reports that Monae was dressed in a quite lovely gown, though it is perhaps a little telling that her ensemble was completed with heels, a clutch, and custom made N95 face mask. Monae says that while she felt a little overdressed, it was worth it. The situation was unusual but proper safety precautions were rightly taken and she finally got to get out of the house. According to Monae...
It’s so weird, but you know what? I’m rolling with it. Safety first, but I also just really needed a reason to get dressed up. I feel like I’m the most overdressed person but that’s because I haven’t been out in so long.
It wasn't just the premiere itself that was a little unusual, but the location where it all took place. The Antebellum premiere happened on the top of the parking structure at The Grove in Los Angeles. A drive-in theater was put together along with a concession stand so that people could view the film in the safety of their own cars.
Viewers who want to watch Antebellum won't even need to go to the drive-in. While that's become one of the primary places that movies are still being released theatrically, Antebellum made the decision to go to a VOD model rather than release in theaters. Still, while the movie might not get its normal theatrical release that it was planning on, it's nice to see some sort of premiere event still happen. If nothing else, it's a nice benefit for those who worked on the film to get to celebrate the hard work together, but in safety.
It will be interesting to see how Antebellum does as a home release. While many critics praised the movie's ambition, many seemed to feel that the film came up short in its execution of the ideas it presented. The lukewarm response might actually make more people interested in giving it a try as a home release.