Beasts of No Nation, Cary Fukunaga's African war drama that was acquired by Netflix for $12 million, may only be shown in 200 to 250 independent theaters after Regal, AMC and Cinemark committed to boycotting the picture. The movie, starring Idris Elba, tells the story of a child soldier torn from his family to fight in a civil war in an unnamed African country.

Idris ElbaIdris Elba heads the cast in Netflix's Beasts of No Nation

The chains have their backs up because the movie will screen online simultaneously with the theatrical release when there's usually at least a 90-day break between the two. 

Producer Amy Kaufman told Variety that the filmmakers had made the right decision. "This movie will have the muscle of Netflix behind it," she said. "It will definitely be seen by a lot more and different kinds of people through Netflix than it would have through a traditional platform.

"It could be a game changer. This has the potential to change the way people perceive how movies and art are delivered to them."

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It's not the first time that Netflix has found itself at odds with the exhibitors. In September, Netflix and Imax announced a deal whereby Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon would debut on the same day on the streaming service and Imax theaters. However, exhibitors that operate Imax venues - principally AMC and Regal - said they wouldn't play the film.

Beasts of No Nation was shot in Ghana last year for $6 million and was bought by Netflix following a ferocious bidding war. The film has already been tipped for Oscars glory in 2016 and the Netflix is believed to be positioning it as its major awards contender.

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