Armando Iannucci criticises US distributor for trying to show 'Death of Stalin' during pandemic

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3-min read
Armando Iannucci of 'Avenue 5' appears onstage during the HBO segment of the 2020 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour on January 15, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)
Armando Iannucci of 'Avenue 5' appears onstage during the HBO segment of the 2020 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour on January 15, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

Armando Iannucci has criticised the US distributor of his film The Death of Stalin for offering it to independent cinemas who reopen as soon as possible in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

IFC Films is offering 200 of its library titles, including Iannucci’s Soviet satire, for free to indie venues who open their doors from the end of May.

Read more: Iannucci on “celebrating Britain” with his David Copperfield movie

The filmmaker said on Twitter that it was “simply too early” for multiplexes to consider opening in the midst of the current health emergency.

He wrote that he did not approve of any of his films being shown in US cinemas “before it’s clear the virus has been overcome”.

The IFC initiative will see the company waive traditional fees for the 200 library titles for 30 days from the time they first reopen their doors, starting on 29 May.

In a statement, IFC said: “We wanted to take the first step and let theatres know that we are committed to helping them reopen their doors by providing a selection of films to program while the new release landscape gets back to normal.”

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Cinemas all over the world have been forced to close in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with dozens of movies rescheduled and delayed.

One such movie is Iannucci’s own The Personal History of David Copperfield, which had been due to arrive Stateside in May, having debuted to acclaim in the UK at the beginning of the year.

Dev Patel in 'The Personal History of David Copperfield'. (Credit: Lionsgate)
Dev Patel in 'The Personal History of David Copperfield'. (Credit: Lionsgate)

Copperfield isn’t the only Iannucci project currently working its way around the world, with HBO recently airing the first season of Avenue 5 — the filmmaker’s take on space travel, starring Hugh Laurie.

In February, the show was renewed for a second season.

Read more: HBO unveils trailer for Avenue 5

The Death of Stalin delivers a satirical take on the power struggle that unfolded in the Soviet Union following the titular ruler’s demise in 1953.

It was banned in Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, but was listed by Barack Obama as one of the best films of 2018.