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Jake Gyllenhaal disputes his ‘Road House’ director’s release feud with Amazon

Jake Gyllenhaal has attempted to calm the controversy surrounding his upcoming action film Road House with director Doug Liman.

Liman has previously criticised Amazon Prime Video and said he would be boycotting the film due to Amazon’s decision not to release the movie in cinemas.

Road House is a remake of the 1989 film of the same name, starring Patrick Swayze. The movie follows ex-UFC fighter John Dalton (Gyllenhaal) who takes a job as a bouncer at a Florida Keys roadhouse.

The film is set to premiere in March at South by Southwest film festival in Texas, but Liman has said he will not be attending.

In an interview with Total Film Magazine, the Brokeback Mountain actor confirmed the film was always set for streaming release rather than in cinemas.

“I adore Doug’s tenacity, and I think he is advocating for filmmakers, and film in the cinema, and theatrical releases. But, I mean, Amazon was always clear that it was streaming,” Gyllenhaal said.

“I just want as many people to see it as possible. And I think we’re living in a world that’s changing in how we see and watch movies, and how they’re made. 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.”

The Nightcrawler star added audiences can still be “profoundly moved” by the film, even if they are watching on their computer screen or TV.

“I’m a deep lover of cinema and the theatrical release – but I also do really embrace the streaming world,” he added.

In an article released last month by director Liman, the director said “Amazon has no interest in supporting cinemas”.

Jake Gyllenhaal (left) and Conor McGregor in the trailer for Road House (Amazon MGM Studios/Amazon Prime)
Jake Gyllenhaal (left) and Conor McGregor in the trailer for Road House (Amazon MGM Studios/Amazon Prime)

“Amazon will exclusively stream Road House on Amazon’s Prime. Amazon asked me and the film community to trust them and their public statements about supporting cinemas, and then they turned around and are using Road House to sell plumbing fixtures,” he wrote on Deadline.

Liman, whose directing credits include Edge of Tomorrow and the 2005 film Mr & Mrs Smith, said the movie is “so clearly made for the big screen”.

He added his original plan was to “silently protest” against Amazon’s decision to stream the film, but he could not stay quiet.

Liman has said that when he agreed to direct Road House, he signed to MGM. But in March 2022, Amazon acquired the century-old film studios for approximately $8.5bn (£6.7bn) and said it was committed to “delivering a broad slate of original films and television shows to a global audience”.

When Amazon Studios announced it had acquired MGM, Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios said in a statement: “We welcome MGM employees, creators, and talent to Prime Video and Amazon Studios, and we look forward to working together to create even more opportunities to deliver quality storytelling to our customers.”

MGM, founded in 1924, has brought Amazon a catalogue of more than 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV shows from major franchises.