Road House stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Conor McGregor respond to director's premiere boycott of the new movie

Road House
(Image credit: Prime Video)

The reimagining of the '80s classic Road House has already been subject to some controversy, even before its release. Last month the film's director Doug Liman, who is best known for helming The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow, made waves online when he released an op-ed via Deadline revealing that he will be boycotting the premiere of his own movie at the film festival SXSW. 

In the guest column, Liman criticised the movie's distributor Amazon MGM Studios for bypassing a theatrical release and sending the film straight to streaming service Prime Video. Explaining why he plans to "silently protest Amazon’s decision to stream a movie so clearly made for the big screen", the filmmaker detailed what happened stating that he signed up "to make a theatrical motion picture", only for Amazon to then give the movie an exclusive streaming release. 

Since then the drama has continued to bubble away in the background, with a recent Variety report claiming that Liman and the film's team, including star Jake Gyllenhaal, were offered a choice by the studio – $60 million for a theatrical release or $85 million for a streaming release. That report states that they opted for the latter.

When Total Film asks Gyllenhaal for his response to Liman's comments, the star remains diplomatic, yet emphasizes that Amazon had always made it clear that the film would be heading to their streaming platform. He tells Total Film in our new issue out this Friday, which features Road House on the cover: "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."

Continuing, Gyllenhaal professes his love for watching movies on the big screen, but adds that this isn't necessary to be moved or entertained by a film. He explains: "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."

Gyllenhaal's co-star in the movie Conor McGregor, the MMA fighter and former UFC champion here making his film debut, is more forthright in his reply to Liman's comments. He tells Total Film: "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 Bezos."

Road House is released on March 21 via Prime Video. And you can read more about it and a whole lot else besides in the new issue of Total Film when it hits shelves and digital newsstands on Friday, March 1. This is one day later than usual, due to how the Leap Year falls. 

Check out the covers below:

Total Film's Road House covers

(Image credit: Prime Video/Amazon MGM Studios/Total Film)

Pre-order the issue here to bag your copy, or click here to subscribe to Total Film and never miss another exclusive. You’ll get every issue before it's in stores, and you’ll get subscriber-exclusive covers. 

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(Image credit: Universal/Warner Bros./Prime Video/Amazon MGM Studios/Focus Features)
Matt Maytum
Editor, Total Film

I'm the Editor at Total Film magazine, overseeing the running of the mag, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.

With contributions from