Good news for anyone who needs a little more romance, comedy, and Eyes Wide Shut-style murder orgies in their lives right now: Deadline reports that Paramount has finished up a deal to premiere Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae’s The Lovebirds on Netflix at some near-future date. Directed by Michael Showalter (who previously helmed Nanjiani’s charmer The Big Sick), the movie was originally set to premiere at SXSW, before concerns about COVID-19 caused it to be pulled, just days ahead of the festival itself shutting down for the year.
The film stars Nanjiani and Rae as a couple who find themselves suddenly embroiled in the middle of a murder mystery, complete with a little bit of light, horse-based torture. (Possibly the worst kind of torture, although we imagine the horse might not agree) It previously looked like a perfectly entertaining diversion; now, of course, it’s just the latest solitary beacon of light in a dark and joyless world where hand sanitizer is money, and new movies are few and far between.
The Lovebirds isn’t the first film to abruptly make the jump to streaming during the current crisis, although unlike films like The Hunt, it carries the distinction of not having debuted in theaters at all before making the leap. (Also, instead of simply being made available for digital purchase, it’s being handed off to Netflix, not unlike earlier films like The Cloverfield Paradox.) Studio executives remain adamant that this is just a temporary measure, and that as soon as it’s safe for theaters to open again, they’ll revert to the exclusivity windows that normally keep movies off the streaming services until months after their releases. In the meantime, though, we get to dial up all our Netflix Party friends and watch Rae and Nanjiani be delightful/horse-kicked, which feels like a win-win for everybody involved.