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Screen Talk: ‘Beasts of No Nation’ and ‘Chi-Raq’ Challenge Awards Movie Paradigms

Screen Talk: 'Beasts of No Nation' and 'Chi-Raq' Challenge Awards Movie Paradigms

How is the innovative Netflix/Landmark release being perceived by Hollywood and Academy members? It’s new ground. Sure, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos boasted about 3 million initial viewers, but how aware are Oscar voters? Many of them are Netflix subscribers. But do they see the poor box office performance as a negative? It may be more accessible than “Steve Jobs.”

Danny Boyle/Aaron Sorkin’s talk-fest did not do well at the box office. Did that hurt its Oscar chances? It’s a talky dialogue-driven piece of theater, and it was a difficult sell to moviegoers. We think it’s still in there; Academy members will recognize it as a highbrow art film and not a mainstream movie.

Amazon Studios’ first theatrical release “Chi-Raq,” a musical about gang violence in Chicago by Spike Lee, is getting a December release via Roadside Attractions. Why go into the crowded holiday season? “Spike himself is a one-man army in terms of publicity,” says Eric Kohn, who wonders if it’s counter-programming against more vanilla award season fare. 

How strong will “The Martian” fare going forward, with “Spotlight” offering more gravitas and others coming on strong. How will newcomer “Trumbo” and “Straight Outta Compton” do? 

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