Bodied had a very successful tour on the fall festival circuit last year, picking up audience awards at TIFF, AFI Fest, and Fantastic Fest. The dark comedy follows a grad student (Calum Worthy) who’s studying the language of rap battles, but eventually finds his way into becoming a star in the rap battle scene. I caught the film at TIFF, and it’s hilarious, but it’s also bound to generate controversy depending on how many people end up seeing it. The movie takes on everyone, and takes the position that even if people are offended, it’s far better to be open and say harsh things in an artistic context rather than stay buttoned up, polite, and hypocritical.
Given the success of Bodied on the festival circuit, I was surprised that we hadn’t heard anything regarding distribution, but now it looks like the film has been picked up by YouTube Red. Presumably, YouTube wants to be the same sized player as Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services, and Bodied is a good contender to put them on the map. According to a press release, YouTube Red will give the movie a theatrical release before releasing the moving on its streaming service. The movie will also have a sneak peek at Sundance this Sunday.
The question is what kind of theatrical release Bodied will receive. Technically, some Netflix movies get theatrical releases, but they’re so miniscule that they barely matter. On the flipside. Amazon Studios gives their movies legitimate theatrical releases that expand across theatres nationwide. So what direction will go Bodied go? Additionally, YouTube Red has yet to announce a release date beyond 2018, so we don’t know when the film will arrive, but we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it because it’s definitely a must-see movie. If you happen to be at Sundance, tickets are first-come, first-serve for a screening on Sunday at 5:30pm at the Holiday Theater.