Jake Gyllenhaal’s Road House Is Reportedly Doing Insane Numbers For Amazon, But I Still Wish It Had Gotten A Theatrical Run

 Jake Gyllenhaal standing on guard in Road House.
Jake Gyllenhaal standing on guard in Road House.

Before its release the Road House director made waves for his protest of his own movie, and the fact that Amazon had insisted the movie get a streaming-only launch, when he thought it was worthy of a theatrical release. Now that the movie is out in the world, and while it’s unclear what would have happened if it had been in theaters, there’s no argument it is a bona fide streaming hit.

Not only is Road House a hit for Amazon, but it is, according to Amazon (via THR), the biggest hit in the history of Prime Video. It has been seen by 50 million Prime Video subscribers, making it the largest global launch in the platform’s history. It’s unclear how Prime Video counts views, whether that’s the number of people who have seen the whole movie, the number who pressed play, or somewhere in between.  Still, this is a significant number.

Still, it makes one wonder how Road House would have done if it had seen a theatrical release as was originally intended. Just because 50 million people watched it at home, it doesn’t mean all of them would have gone to a theater to do so. There was interest from the audience in this one, and if the movie had been theatrically released, it likely would have seen greater promotion. So even more people would have been aware of it and many would have gone to see it.

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Prime Video has something in the neighborhood of 200 million subscribers, though that number is inflated since many of them are looking for free shipping more than they want remakes of Patrick Swayze movies. Still, this implies something like a quarter of the subscriber base watched the movie, that’s an impressive percentage. But even though Amazon has many subscribers, millions of people don’t have it and likely would have paid money to see the movie.

And there’s little argument that Road House’s action would have looked amazing on the big screen. Jake Gyllenhaal hyped up the movie’s action sequences before it released and they were quite impressive. Even seeing them on a fairly large screen at home isn’t the same as watching it all in a theatrical environment. I feel like this was a movie that deserved a theatrical release.

The battle between theatrical exhibition and streaming releases isn’t going anywhere. There have been several movies before Road House that dealt with these competing interests, and there will be more. We’ll never know what would have happened if this movie had made the other choice. In the end, Road House is a fun action movie that found its audience, which is something that doesn’t always happen.