Road House remake's director lashes out at Amazon as Prime Video debuts action movie's first trailer

Elwood Dalton looks behind him after a fight at night in Prime Video's Road House movie remake
"Wait - our movie isn't being released in theaters?" (Image credit: Marlee Chizari/Prime Video)

Amazon has debuted the first trailer for its Road House movie remake – but the release has been overshadowed by a potential row between the e-commerce giant and the movie's director.

The Jake Gyllenhaal-starring action film, which is Prime Video's modern take on the 1989 cult classic that starred Patrick Swayze, is due out on one of the world's best streaming services on March 21. With less than two months to go before it lands on the platform, it's high time Amazon gave us some footage to pore over, which it's now done. Take a look at the teaser below:

Based on the aforementioned Swayze-fronted flick of the same name, this 21st-century remake sees Gyllenhaal assume the role of Elwood Dalton, an ex-UFC fighter who finds a new job as a Florida Keys roadhouse bouncer. It doesn't take long, though, for Dalton to realize that his new idyllic home and well-paying role aren't all they're cracked up to be.

One of 2024's new Prime Video movies, Road House will also star Daniela Melchior (The Suicide Squad) and Billy Magnussen (No Time to Die) among others. World-famous UFC champion Conor McGregor is also set to make his acting debut in the action-heavy film.

Will Road House be the latest Amazon Original movie to join our best Prime Video movies ranks? That'll depend on its critical and commercial reception once it arrives in late March. Well, unless the off-screen bout of verbal fisticuffs doesn't propel it to the top of many people's must-see film charts...

What's going on with Road House's director and Amazon Studios?

Conor McGregor's character and Jake Gyllenhaal's Elwood square up in Prime Video's Road House movie

There's beef on and off the screen concerning Prime Video's Road House film remake. (Image credit: Marlee Chizari/Prime Video)

Doug Liman, who helmed the movie for Amazon Studios, is furious that the conglomerate's entertainment division walked back on a promise to give the MGM-produced Road House a theatrical release. 

Writing in an exclusive column for Deadline, Liman – whose filmmaking back catalog includes terrific action-oriented flicks like Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity – didn't hold back in his feelings towards Amazon after it reportedly decided to release Road House exclusively on its primary streaming platform. Indeed, Liman is so incensed by the decision, he's refusing to attend the film's world premiere at SXSW Festival 2024, which runs March 8 to 14.

"The movie is fantastic, maybe my best," Liman wrote. "And I’m sure it will bring the house down and possibly have the audience dancing in their seats during the end credits. But I will not be there. My plan had been to silently protest Amazon’s decision to stream a movie so clearly made for the big screen. But Amazon is hurting way more than just me and my film. If I don’t speak up about Amazon, who will? So here we go."

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Liman goes on to suggest that Amazon, who bought acclaimed studio MGM for an eye-watering $8.5 billion in early 2022, made a promise to pump $1 billion into theatrically released films upon acquiring the filmmaking firm, as well as confirming it would release at least 12 movies per year in cinemas worldwide.

"We made Road House a 'smash hit – Amazon’s words not mine, [sic] btw," Liman continued in his scathing attack. "Road House tested higher than my biggest box office hit Mr. and Mrs Smith. It tested higher than Bourne Identity, which spawned four sequels. I’m told the press response has been Amazon’s best since they bought MGM.

"What else could I have delivered to the studio? Nothing, it turns out. Because contrary to their public statements, Amazon has no interest in supporting cinemas. 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."

Liman's full column is a fiery riposte to Amazon's alleged U-turn, but he's keen to stress that he isn't against the prospect of releasing Road House on the streamer. "I’m not opposed to streaming movies," he continued. "I made one of Amazon’s first original movies for streaming, and during the pandemic sold a streaming movie to Warner Bros. I’m currently making Instigators for Apple. But I am opposed to Amazon gutting MGM and its theatrical business, as I would have been had Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post and then gutted its newsroom (he did the opposite)."

TechRadar has reached out to Amazon Studios for comment on Liman's column and we'll update this article if we hear back.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

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