Dave Bautista stands in the middle of dried corpses in Army of the Dead.

Streaming entertainment has been a very good host when it comes to Zack Snyder’s 2021 output. With Zack Snyder’s Justice League finding a home at HBO Max, and Army of the Dead finally coming into existence through Netflix, the much talked about director has a lot to celebrate. However, he’s about to help the big red streamer accomplish a very big first, as Army of the Dead is about to become the first Netflix movie to get a wide release in theaters.

Not only is Army of the Dead potentially heading to a cinema near you, Variety reports that it’s happening thanks to one of the three major theater chains on the market. But if you’re an AMC Theaters or Regal Cinemas customer, you won’t find the film at any of those branded locations. Rather, this new twist of fate is happening courtesy of Cinemark Theaters, and a handful of other smaller chains. All told, 600 theaters will be showing Army of the Dead, starting next Friday.

It’s a shrewd business move on both sides of the coin, as Netflix and Cinemark stand to both benefit from this hotly buzzed title. For Netflix, their theatrical footprint obviously has grown rather well in this handshake. And in terms of Cinemark’s end of the Army of the Dead rollout, they get to potentially draw the crowds who were anticipating waiting until the Netflix streaming debut, with a chance to see the film earlier than anticipated. Either way, it’s probably a good thing that Zack Snyder toned down the ribald content that was almost included in this undead heist picture.

Up until now, Netflix has released films like The Irishman onto the big screen, but it’s always been a very limited affair. Thanks to the long standing dispute over exclusivity windows between the streaming giant and their theatrical counterparts, it always felt like a wide release was nigh impossible. But throughout the tail end of 2020, Cinemark found themselves experimenting with a one-week window of theatrical exclusivity, with films like The Christmas Chronicles 2 and The Midnight Sky.

That experiment seems to have paid off enough for Cinemark to take their partnership with Netflix to the next level. Meaning that the Zack Snyder fanbase that’s looking to support Army of the Dead in light of Warner Bros’ refusal to restore the Snyderverse may have been handed another powerful tool in their arsenal. Nothing sends a message like box office success in this industry, and Netflix’s first wide theatrical release would be quite the bullhorn.

Army of the Dead being made by Netflix already feels like a win in the first place. But now that a wide, one week theatrical release is set to start as early as next Thursday, we might be hearing a lot more about this gruesome cinematic gladiator. Though if you’re not up to heading out to a theater near you just yet, Netflix will have the film streaming on May 21st.

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