Armando Iannucci Criticizes IFC Films for Bringing 'Death of Stalin' to Cinemas Amid Pandemic

'The Death of Stalin'

His film is among 200 library titles IFC is offering for free to reopening independent cinemas, but the director says the date of May 29 is "simply too early."

Under an initiative it has called the Indie Theater Revival Project, IFC Films has said it will offer 200 library titles for free to indie cinemas across the U.S. that are planning to reopen in the coming months after being shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement, made on Monday, came just as talks of theaters reopening began, with state governments laying out plans to ease shelter-in-place restrictions, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp unveiling an aggressive strategy that would allow cinemas to begin as early as next week.

However, IFC's initiative — which starts May 29 and sees traditional rental fees waived for the first 30 days that cinemas are open — hasn't gone down well with one filmmaker.

Armando Iannucci, whose darkly satirical 2017 comedy The Death of Stalin is among the titles, tweeted that he thought the date was too soon, and that he didn't approve of any of his film being shown in U.S. cinemas until the country had emerged from COVID-19 crisis. May 29, he said, was "simply too early."

The Death of Stalin, which bowed in Toronto in 2017 and was released in the U.S. in March 2018, was met with critical acclaim, earning an impressive $8 million for IFC and a global haul of $24.6 million.

Iannucci's latest film, The Personal History of David Copperfield, was due for a domestic launch on May 8 with Searchlight, but it has been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.