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Jake Gyllenhaal Just Made The Road House Remake Controversy More Awkward

Earlier this year, Amazon MGM Studios unveiled a well-received trailer for Jake Gyllenhaal and director Doug Liman's "Road House." Many praised the duo for updating the '80s classic for a new generation, but Liman isn't happy about the film's release. In a guest column for Deadline, the filmmaker criticized Amazon for not putting "Road House" in theaters. "The facts: I signed up to make a theatrical motion picture for MGM. Amazon bought MGM. Amazon said make a great film and we will see what happens. I made a great film," he wrote, suggesting the studio didn't fulfill its promise to release the movie theatrically.

However, Gyllenhaal is chiming a different tune, telling Total Film that he sees where Amazon is coming from. The leading man claims the studio never made any promises. "I adore Doug's tenacity, and I think he is advocating for filmmakers, and film in the cinema, and theatrical releases," he said. "But ... Amazon was always clear that it was streaming." 

A report from Variety says that after Amazon purchased MGM, Liman and Gyllenhaal were given two possibilities for "Road House." The duo could either make the picture for $60 million and have a theatrical release or receive an $85 million budget for a streaming debut. Sources say that the creatives went with the streaming option. 

Jake Gyllenhaal praises Doug Liman's vision for Road House

In their report, Variety says that they contacted Amazon and Doug Liman for comment — both parties declined. Despite the director's appeal and brutally honest open letter, Amazon MGM Studios is still moving forward with a late March streaming release. For Liman, his blockbuster heading to streaming is the start of a significant shift in how the industry operates. "Movies like 'Road House,' people actually want to see on the big screen, and it was made for the big screen. Without movie theaters, we won't have the commercial box office hits that are the locomotives that allow studios to take gambles on original movies and new directors," he penned in his January Deadline article. 

Gyllenhaal sees Amazon's "Road House" release strategy as a byproduct of how things have changed over the years. "I just want as many people to see it as possible," he told Total Film, acknowledging that how audiences view motion pictures is evolving, which in turn is shifting how films are produced. The actor has never shied away from joining products built for streaming; his post-2015 CV is filled with projects sent straight to streaming, like Netflix's "Velvet Buzzsaw" and "The Guilty." 

Despite all the hoopla surrounding the release of "Road House," Gyllenhaal is proud to have worked with Liman. "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," he said. 

"Road House" hits Amazon Prime Video on March 21, 2024.