Following a heated auction, Hulu has acquired domestic rights to the Sarah Paulson thriller Run from Lionsgate, which had planned to release the genre film on Mother’s Day.
The movie hails from director Aneesh Chaganty and his co-writer Sev Ohanian, who also produced Run with Natalie Qasabian. If those three names look familiar next to each other, it’s because that’s the team behind the 2018 John Cho thriller Searching.
Run finds Paulson playing an overprotective mother who has raised her wheelchair-bound daughter in total isolation, controlling her every move since birth. When the teenage girl discovers some unsettling truths, she’s thrust into the fight of her life.
Newcomer Kiera Allen plays Paulson’s daughter, and her casting marks the first time an actual wheelchair user has played a lead in a major thriller since 1948’s The Sign of the Ram according to the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news.
What’s interesting about this pick-up to me is that, judging by its trailer, Run obviously boasts some similarities to Hulu’s acclaimed limited series The Act, which starred Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee Blanchard, who many mental health experts believe had Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a parent or caretaker exaggerates, fabricates or induces illness in another person for attention and sympathy.
As Paulson herself says in the film’s trailer, “you need me.”
Now, it’s unclear when, exactly, Run will debut on Hulu, but you can safely expect this fall, and probably October, tool. Why? A couple reasons. First and foremost, if you’re Hulu, you don’t acquire a finished film like this to keep it on a shelf, and I imagine that’s the prospect the filmmakers were facing if they insisted on a theatrical release via Lionsgate, which would be crazy to put it out under the current circumstances. Instead, the studio reaps a quick profit without having to pay for a full marketing campaign, seeing as its theatrical release was still several months away when it was delayed at the start of the pandemic.
The second reason? Chaganty’s quote itself. Notice the year he mentions at the end.
“We’re super excited audiences will get to stream Run on Hulu, a platform that’s really committed to giving the movie the same, big splash that was always intended for it. Plus, the film is about a girl who’s been quarantined at home her whole life; watching it the same way should be a fitting experience in 2020.”
Also, Run is a sort of thriller/horror movie, and that’s what people want to watch as Halloween approaches, especially when trick or treating may not be so popular this year. People want to get together — safely! — and watch scary movies together. Meanwhile Paulson is about to be the beneficiary of a major Netflix campaign as the star of Ryan Murphy‘s new show Ratched, and it would be wise of Hulu to draft on that publicity.
The other interesting thing about this announcement is that less than a week ago, Lionsgate decided to release Antebellum on premium VOD, so I wonder if streamers simply weren’t interested in that title, or if the studio wanted to try two different tracks for these films.
Lionsgate will still release Run in theaters in select international marketing, but as far as American audiences are concerned, the film is now a Hulu original along with the comedies Palm Springs starring Andy Samberg, Big Time Adolescence starring Pete Davidson, and the upcoming comedy The Binge starring Vince Vaughn. To watch the trailer for Run, which is not to be confused with the recent HBO comedy of the same name, click here.