You may have heard that director Ron Howard (Parenthood, Far and Away, Apollo 13) has a new movie set for unveiling in the coming months: Thirteen Lives is based off of the 2018 sensational headlines account of a Thai soccer group which was entrapped within a maze of underground caves, all of which were in the throes of some dangerous flooding. Festooned with a stellar cast which includes the likes of Viggo Mortensen (Young Guns II), Colin Farrell (The Lobster) and Joel Edgerton (The Gift), hopes have been pinned high on the box-office success of the new MGM film. Originally slated for a holiday release on November 18, sources tell us that a new wrinkle has been added to that premiere date which, depending on your mileage on such things, could be either good or bad…
Variety revealed today that Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives has opted for an even earlier – and limited – release date to theaters in early August, eschewing the previously announced November premiere. What’s more, quite quickly after that drop date in movie houses, the film will launch worldwide via Amazon Prime.
So what changed? Pop culture pundits point to the recent acquisition by Amazon of MGM, the original home of Thirteen Lives. ‘New owners, new rules’ a little birdie tells us.
In a press release, Amazon Big Wheel Jennifer Salke said that “When we saw Thirteen Lives, we got incredibly excited about what this could be on a global premiere, about what this could do for customers all over the world. It feels like the ultimate inspirational story of hope, determination and triumph.”
Word ‘round campfire has it that Thirteen Lives will not be without company in the nigh-simultaneous theatrical/streaming premiere from a quickly evolving and expanding Amazon: Two other films from the stalwart House That Jeff Bezos Built will also see a similar release pattern – Anything’s Possible and Samaritan.
“We don’t have a one-size fits all sort of strategy on any of our content,” Salke admits in regards to the roadmap for Amazon going forward. “Whether it be a television series, limited series, movie, live event or a concert, because we’re more curated, we’re able to look at the content through that lens…”
According to Salke, Ron Howard and his producing cohorts Brian Grazer, Karen Linder, Gabrielle Tana, P.J. van Sandwijk and William M. Connor were all consulted about the release changes to Thirteen Lives in hopes of maintaining a so-called “artist-friendly” atmosphere.
Look for an early August theatrical debut for Thirteen Lives, followed quite quickly by a reroute to streaming platforms.