After quietly removing its mysterious new thriller “Antebellum” from the release calendar in July, Lionsgate has opted to release the Janelle Monáe-starring horror film on VOD. The film was previously set for an April release, before being pushed to August 21 and later to an undetermined date as the pandemic continued to impact an ever-changing theatrical release calendar. The film will now hit premium VOD on Friday, September 18, where it will be available on most VOD platforms for $19.99 per rental. The film will be released theatrically in select international markets.
Per the film’s official synopsis, the film follows “successful author Veronica (Monáe) [who] finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it’s too late.” The cast also includes Marque Richardson II, Eric Lange, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Tongayi Chirisa, Gabourey Sidibe, Rob Aramayo, Lily Cowles, and Jena Malone.
“Antebellum” is written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, who are making their feature directorial debut with the mysterious film. The duo has a background in socially driven work, with credits including a political Jay-Z music video, along with other music videos and a viral PSA condemning police brutality and featuring Michael K. Williams, Michael B. Jordan, Danny Glover, and Van Jones.
Today’s announcement was made by Joe Drake, Chairman, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. “While the theatrical experience will always be the heart of our business, we are thrilled that we are able to seize the opportunity to match Gerard and Chris’s urgent and immediate film with a release strategy befitting this moment of extraordinary change,” said Drake in an official statement. “Gerard and Chris are storytellers whose work beats with authenticity — not only will this film entertain and thrill audiences worldwide, but spark a discussion about our current world.”
When the film’s first trailer was released in November, it hinted at a mysterious thriller with shades of “Get Out” and Octavia Butler’s beloved novel “Kindred,” which also follows a modern Black woman who finds herself (intermittently) trapped on a plantation in the Antebellum South. Early looks at the film have hinted that it will also cross eras and find Monáe’s character stuck in a horrifying moment of history.
Over the past few months, Lionsgate has released a number of films on VOD with varying success, first moving its Christian-themed “I Still Believe” to digital platforms after its theatrical release was interrupted by growing pandemic concerns, and later offering features like the critically maligned “Forces of Nature” and the Katie Holmes’ starring “The Secret: Dare to Dream” to at-home audiences.