Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” was originally set to premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, but both Lee and Amazon Studios feel so strongly about the project that they are hopping into the awards race this year by opening the picture this December.
“Chi-Raq” stars Teyonah Parris in a modernized version of the classic Greek play “Lysistrata,” in which the titular character goes on a sex strike to protest black-on-black gun violence. Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, D.B. Sweeney, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris, Angela Bassett, John Cusack and Sameul L. Jackson also star in the film. The title, “Chi-Raq,” derives from the nickname that developed for Chicago after being compared to Iraq and its violence.
The film is set to premiere in theaters and become available to Amazon Prime users shortly after, which will be the model for all Amazon Studio’s releases moving forward. Amazon has recently acquired domestic rights to historical drama “Elvis & Nixon,” which stars Kevin Spacey as President Richard Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis Presley, and is showing interest in Jim Jarmusch’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” and Eleanor Coppola’s “Bonjour Anne.”