'Beasts Of No Nation' Gets its Controversial Release, Both Online and Off

Netflix has released its first major movie, both online and in theaters.

Beasts of No Nation, directed by True Detective's Cary Fukunaga and starring Idris Elba, was released online a week after its theatrical premiere in a move that has sparked controversy with movie theaters.

The four largest theater chains in the U.S.—AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike—refused to screen the movie as a stand against the rising popularity of video on demand, Variety reported earlier this year. There is usually a 90-day window between theatrical and general release in the U.S.

According to the Guardian, in order for Beasts of No Nation to be eligible for an Oscar nomination, Netflix needs the film to be shown in theaters in the calendar year ahead of the ceremony.

Since its first screening at the London Film Festival last week, Beasts of No Nation has received mixed reviews. Entertainment Weekly called it a "stark, beautifully shot drama," deserved of the big screen, while The Atlantic said it "lacks the specifics that could make it a truly memorable film."

Elba, the star of BBC drama Luther and HBO series The Wire, plays a warlord in an unnamed west African country, who tutors a child soldier. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala and cost Netflix a reported $12 million to secure the rights, and a further $6 million to make.

Beasts of No Nation is available to watch on Netflix from Friday October 16. In the U.S. a number of select cinema's will be showing the film, while in the UK, Curzon Cinemas secured the contract to show it.