George Miller Says Three Thousand Years Of Longing Has A Guaranteed Wide Theatrical Release

If you love George Miller, or if you just want to see Idris Elba as a genie in a bathrobe opposite Tilda Swinton, you'll undoubtedly want to see the new film "Three Thousand Years of Longing." And just in case the "playing only in movie theaters" tag at the end of the first trailer wasn't indication enough, Miller has now confirmed that the place to see the movie first will be theaters.

"Three Thousand Years of Longing" made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend, and our own review of the film was positive, calling it "a fantastic and poignant story about storytelling, longing, and love." The film marks Miller's first since "Mad Max: Fury Road," which ranked high on /Film's list of the best movies of the 2010s. "Fury Road" came out in 2015, however, and the ensuing rise of streaming services, coupled with the pandemic, have shortened the theatrical windows for many films to the point where some of them only have a limited or simultaneous release.

Though Amazon recently acquired MGM, one of the main production companies behind "Three Thousand Years of Longing," don't expect to see it immediately drop on Prime Video. Speaking to Variety at Cannes, Miller said:

"It would be very painful to know that your movie will be first seen on streaming. There's a commitment that they can't change. MGM will release it at the end of August in 2,000 cinemas. There's been no deal that MGM has made to stream the movie. At this moment, it will be a theatrical release. Seeing it in that cinema [the Palais], with that sound, that group of people, and knowing every little bit of work that we put into it, will be available to the audiences."

What would you wish for?

With the distribution deal for "Three Thousand Years of Longing" being hammered out before Amazon's acquisition of MGM, it seems like this film is in a similar boat to "The New Mutants," the Fox superhero film that received a long-delayed theatrical release in 2020 even after Disney's acquisition of the studio. Disney faced a lawsuit for changing the agreed-upon terms when it shifted another superhero film, "Black Widow," to day-and-date, so Amazon would likely want to avoid anything of that sort happening with Miller's movie.

"Three Thousand Years of Longing" is adapted by Miller and co-writer Augusta Gore from the short story "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye" by A.S. Byatt. Swinton plays Alithea, a narratologist who describes herself as "a solitary creature by nature." She's a world traveler and chooses a memento in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul that happens to be a bottle housing Elba's genie — or Djinn, as he's more properly known.

Djinn offers Alithea the typical three wishes, talking about hidden desires and asking the typical genie question of, "What is your heart's desire?" But as someone who traffics in human storytelling (being a narratologist and all), Alithea recognizes, "There's no story about wishes that is not a cautionary tale."

As the conversation about storytelling goes beyond this film and its source material, the subject naturally came up in Miller's interview with Variety, where he expressed optimism about the future of cinema, saying:

"I think congregations of people telling each other stories has evolved since early man. Cinema just has to adapt to it."

"Three Thousand Years of Longing" is in theaters on August 31, 2022.