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Chloé Zhao’s awards contender Nomadland will get a hybrid release in theaters and on sister company Hulu due to the ongoing pandemic and widespread theater closures, Searchlight Pictures announced Tuesday.
The film, starring Frances McDormand, will debut on the Disney-owned streaming service and in U.S. cinemas on Feb. 19 — its previously scheduled release date — after getting an exclusive run in select Imax theaters beginning Jan. 29.
The announcement is notable in the ever-evolving shift to streaming amid the COVID-19 crisis. Nomadland is the first 2021 Searchlight title to confirm a hybrid release as awards season heats up, and is a high-profile get for Hulu.
Nomadland won both the Venice International Film Festival’s Golden Lion and the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Audience Award.
The movie’s vistas, filmed across five states in the American West, are a part of IMAX’s Digital Media Re-Mastering process to bring clarity and precision audio to this modern-day road movie.
Searchlight Pictures will release Nomadland internationally throughout the spring, subject to closures, following a successful limited preview run which just concluded in Australia and New Zealand.
Hulu, which has more than 38 million subscribers in the U.S., serves as the sister brand to the family-friendly Disney+ and has become a home for more adult fare from Disney brands including FX. Though the service originally built an audience as a destination for television programming, it recently began bulking up its original and exclusive film offerings. Over the summer, the Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti romantic comedy Palm Springs debuted on Hulu and in select theaters. The streamer also released holiday rom-com Happiest Season and has acquired the distribution rights to Paramount’s The United States vs. Billie Holiday, due out on Feb. 26. Going forward, the streamer could benefit from access to Disney’s Searchlight pipeline.
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