Jake Gyllenhaal Says ‘Amazon Was Always Clear’ That ‘Road House’ Was for Streaming After Director Slammed Studio for Skipping Theatrical Release

Jake Gyllenhaal is trying to cool the controversy surrounding his upcoming action movie “Road House,” a remake of the 1989 cult favorite starring Patrick Swayze. The Amazon Prime Video movie has been slammed by none other than its director, Doug Liman, who is boycotting the film’s release due to Amazon’s decision not to open the movie in theaters. The new “Road House” launches on streaming via Prime Video in March. The film is premiering at SXSW, but Liman has said he will not be in attendance.

In a new interview with Total Film magazine, however, Gyllenhaal seemingly confirmed Variety’s report about “Road House” always being intended for a global streaming release. Sources familiar with the negotiations told Variety that Liman, Gyllenhaal and producer Joel Silver were given a choice: Make the film for $60 million and get a theatrical release or take $85 million and go streaming only. They opted for the latter.

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“They all took the money,” one knowledgeable source said.

“I adore Doug’s tenacity, and I think he is advocating for filmmakers, and film in the cinema, and theatrical releases. But, I mean, Amazon was always clear that it was streaming,” Gyllenhaal now told Total Film. “I just want as many people to see it as possible. And I think we’re living in a world that’s changing in how we see and watch movies, and how they’re made. What’s clear to me, and what I loved so much, was [Liman’s] deep love for this movie, and his pride at how much he cares for it, how good he feels it is, and how much people should see it.”

While Gyllenhaal enjoys watching movies on the big screen, he added that streaming releases can still be a platform for movies that entertain and/or move audiences emotionally.

“I’ve also sat watching a film on my computer, or in different places, and been so profoundly moved. If the job of a story is to move people, I have been moved in both forms,” Gyllenhaal said. “I’m a deep lover of cinema and the theatrical release – but I also do really embrace the streaming world.”

Variety reported that even after the “Road House” team took the streaming deal, producer Silver “continued to push for a theatrical release and grew so combative that the studio threatened to cut ties with him.”

Liman came out swinging against Amazon Prime Video in a first person essay on Deadline in which he said he’d be boycotting the “Road House” premiere at SXSW because of the decision not to release his movie in theaters.

“Amazon has no interest in supporting cinemas,” Liman wrote. “Amazon will exclusively stream ‘Road House’ on Amazon’s 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.”

“That hurts the filmmakers and stars of ‘Road House’ who don’t share in the upside of a hit movie on a streaming platform,” he continued. “And they deprive Jake Gyllenhaal — who gives a career-best performance — the opportunity to be recognized come award season. But the impact goes far beyond this one movie. This could be industry shaping for decades to come.”

“Road House” streams March 21 on Prime Video.

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