Jake Gyllenhaal Responds to Doug Liman Boycotting Their ‘Road House’ Premiere

Jake Gyllenhaal has weighed in on Doug Liman’s decision to boycott the premiere of their upcoming remake of the 1989 action movie Road House.

Liman is refusing to attend the film’s March 8 world premiere at the South by Southwest Film & TV Festival next month because the film’s studio, Amazon MGM Studios, is releasing Road House on Prime Video without a run in theaters. Gyllenhaal stars in the film as Elwood Dalton, a bouncer who takes a job in a rowdy Florida bar.

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In an interview with Total Film, Gyllenhaal was diplomatic about the situation, saying, “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. 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.”

He added, “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. I’m a deep lover of cinema and the theatrical release — but I also do really embrace the streaming world.”

Yet Gyllenhaal’s co-star, MMA fighter Conor McGregor, who is making his acting debut in the film, was a bit more blunt: “I’d love for it to be in theaters. I’m for the theater. I understand the business, also … I’d love a call with [Amazon founder Jeff] Bezos.”

Previously, Liman explained his position on things, writing on Deadline, “The movie is fantastic, maybe my best, and I’m sure it will bring the house down and possibly have the audience dancing in their seats during the end credits. But I will not be there. My plan had been to silently protest Amazon’s decision to stream a movie so clearly made for the big screen. But Amazon is hurting way more than just me and my film.”

Liman claimed Amazon made it sound like the film could end up in theaters, and the film tested through the roof with audiences — even higher than his The Bourne Identity. Liman wrote, “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. 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. If we don’t put tentpole movies in movie theaters, there won’t be movie theaters in the future.”

Yet the situation is reportedly a bit more complicated, with at least one report saying Liman was originally offered the opportunity to make the film for $60 million with a theatrical release and instead accepted an $85 million budget under the condition that it would exclusively go to streaming.

Road House launches on Prime Video on March 21.

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