The Harder They Fall makers explain the reason they chose to release the film on Netflix instead of going with a traditional theatrical release. The film is an all-Black Western with a star-studded cast including Jonathan Majors, Regina King, Idris Elba, LaKeith Stanfield, and more. The Harder They Fall incorporates various real-life historical figures like Nat Love (Majors) and Rufus Black (Elba), in which Love reunites his gang to look for retribution on Black for killing his parents.
Insider detailed from the London Film Festival that Samuel and Lassiter stated the reason Netflix is the best platform to release their film is because of the “worked in” racial biases that accompany theatrical releases. Samuel says that the movies he makes are not necessarily intended for the small screens, however the larger goal of releasing the film on Netflix was to broaden the film’s reach farther than a movie theater could create. Lassiter acknowledges the biases against films with an all-Black cast being dismissed from theaters. Read Lassiter’s full remarks underneath:
“In case we’re going to recount to a story like this with this cast, the goal is to have as many individuals around the world have access to it,” Lassiter, who delivered the film alongside Jay-Z, said. “And at times when you do a theatrical release there are these implicit biases like, ‘Nobody wants to see an all-Black cast.’ I know beyond all doubt that’s false but rather in certain territories around the world they will tell studios ‘this movie isn’t intended for us.’ And they’re not really in-tuned with how the youthful generation feels. So what Netflix allows is around the world, everybody has access to it, and we will have as many individuals as conceivable see the movie and that was the goal.”
The Western type of film is historically whitewashed and ignores many BIPOC stories. This film has an amazing cast of Black actors who have the right to have their work appreciated, and racial biases do in any case exist in many networks. While there has been record breaking accomplishment with Black-drove films, like Black Panther (2018), The Harder They Fall is a standalone film outside of a larger franchise without a huge number of loyal fans. It is understandable why choosing a platform that doesn’t rely upon the opinions of a particular theater’s proprietor is appealing to a film created by individuals who know the impacts of these biases firsthand.