Netflix had to work with an Indie distributor after the major chains all boycotted their new feature, Idris Elba-starring Oscar hopeful Beasts of no Nation. Netflix are ignoring the standard 90 day window between cinema and TV release, yet more evidence of the disruption digitised upstarts like the streaming giant are bringing.
By the way, to be clear, disruption is the term economists use to describe the changes and challenges digitisation brings to any given industry's business practices.
The major American distributors wouldn't touch the film as to do so would damage their relationship with cinema chains (often the same company with the extent of vertical integration!).
As well as using the small scale US release to qualify for Oscar consideration (shades of Mirimax?!), the UK release is effectively a branding campaign - a cinema release brings a level of gravitas or status that streaming alone does not.
Think about Warp for an interesting point of comparison - '71 was highly reliant on broadsheet newspaper reviews while Le Donk... had a cinema trailer and release date ... but no theatrical release, a smart ploy to generate newspaper reviews!
Netflix drama Beasts of No Nation to hit UK cinemas before reaching subscribers http://gu.com/p/4ctx4?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger