SCI-FI movie High Rise could be looking to the future in more ways than one, with the glossy J.G. Ballard adaptation hitting streaming services two full weeks ahead of its US theatrical debut on May 13.
Ballard’s tower block
The prolific Tom Hiddleston stars as Dr. Robert Laing, resident of a high concept, luxury apartment block designed by one of the world’s most accomplished architects.
It’s a place where residents are so pampered that there is not much of an incentive to leave, especially for the wealthiest inhabitants.
All basic and higher needs are taken care of, from schooling and shopping to fine dining and fitness.
But things start to turn sour, as Laing becomes increasingly consumed by life within the complex, and his fellow residents â€“ portrayed by a cast that includes Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and James Purefoy â€“ coagulate into cliques and then increasingly venal factions.
High-Rise isn’t the first J.G. Ballard novel to make it into cinemas â€“ there’s Empire of the Sun, Crash, even When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth â€“ nor is it the first to make itself available online before theatrical launch, but it’s certainly among the most high-profile.
The Weinstein Co. made the multi-award winning Snowpiercer available online a fortnight in advance of a very long-awaited theatrical release â€“ a risk minimization strategy after disputes arose between director and studio head.
Netflix, in expanding from digital into theatrical distribution, has been experimenting with simultaneous debuts. The 2015 Oscar prospect Beasts of No Nation saw four of the US’ biggest chains refusing to participate; the same quartet again closed their doors to a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel in February.
Like those Netflix features, High-Rise is also looking at a limited theatrical distribution in the US, courtesy of independent cinemas.
Following a gradual international rollout that started in the UK and Ireland in March, then France in April, plus film festival appearances since its Toronto premiere last September, High-Rise has secured screenings in around 30 cities across the US.
By then, it will have been available inside the US since April 28, via 18 video platforms that include iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Xbox and PlayStation, as well as directly from a dozen or so telecom and cable companies. â€” AFP Relaxnews