America’s four-largest cinema chains will refuse to screen Oscar-tipped child soldier drama Beasts of No Nation, after the film was bought by Netflix in a $12 million (Dh44 million) deal, reports Variety.

AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike all said they would boycott the film, which is directed by True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga and stars Idris Elba. The chains are angry because the drama will screen online simultaneously with its theatrical release, which is now likely to be limited, when there’s usually at least a 90-day break between big screen and small screen bows in the US.

Netflix needs to show the film in cinemas because Oscars body the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requires a film to be shown on the big screen in the calendar year ahead of the relevant edition of its annual ceremony. Beasts of No Nation looks likely to be able to secure a release in just 200 to 250 independent or art house cinemas, claims Variety, including the Alamo Drafthouse chain.

Producer Amy Kaufman nevertheless told the US trade site that the filmmakers had made the right decision. “This movie will have the muscle of Netflix behind it,” she said. “It will definitely be seen by a lot more and different kinds of people through Netflix than it would have through a traditional platform.

“It could be a game changer. This has the potential to change the way people perceive how movies and art are delivered to them.”

Beasts of No Nation, based on the best-selling novel by Uzodinma Iweala, stars Idris Elba as a warlord in an unnamed west African country who takes in a child soldier played by newcomer Abraham Attah. The $6 million film was shot in Ghana last year and was bought by Netflix following a bidding war. The streaming site has recently been stepping up its first-run movie content after announcing plans to premiere the sequel to martial arts Oscar-winner Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon later this year, as well as the first film from a deal with Adam Sandler, a western comedy titled The Ridiculous 6.