HomeEntertainmentTom Hanks’ Western ‘News of The World’ Premieres Dec. 25: How to Watch, What to Know

Tom Hanks’ Western ‘News of The World’ Premieres Dec. 25: How to Watch, What to Know

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards)

Tom Hanks’ new Western News of the World releases on Christmas day, but those in the United States may have trouble finding it. Or at least, they may want to wait.

The film will be released in movie theaters in the United States and China. But Netflix will handle distribution everywhere else. This means the film won’t be available on VOD or on streaming platforms until at least Jan. 11. That’s according to an agreement between Netflix and AMC Theaters that requires a 17-day window between theatrical release and a VOD launch, Decider reported.

Most people have avoided movie theaters this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. It will be interesting to see if Hanks, who has a loyal fan base and a history of Christmas releases, can fill theater seats. COVID-19 has ravaged most movie studios’ release schedules and upended years of planning. CNET compiled a list of all the movies that had to change their release date or scrap a theatrical release altogether.

What is News of the World About?

News of the World is based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles. Hanks plays Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an American Civil War veteran hired to “rescue” Johanna, a young white girl, from a native American tribe. She was taken as an infant and doesn’t want to return with Kidd.

Hanks says this isn’t a typical Western. Whereas most classics of the genre were about American myth-making, this movie is focused on authenticity, he said. That’s why, finding actual members of the Kiowa people to portray them in the film was so important to Hanks.

“We didn’t have Native Americans playing generic Native Americans,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “We had the Kiowa Nation playing the Kiowa Nation. It was important to us and I think it had weight to them that they were part of the process.”

What Are Critics Saying About the Film?

The movie is getting good reviews from its first batch of critics. It currently has a rating of 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning nearly 9 out of 10 reviewers gave a positive rating. The main draw seems to be Hanks and his young co-star Helena Zengel.

“Everyone here is at the top of their craft from the character actors who populate the ensemble to the two leads at its center to everyone behind the camera, and you can feel that from first frame to last,” said Brian Tallerico, managing editor for RogerEbert.com.

“Tom Hanks gets the best lines in “News of the World,” playing exclusively in theaters. He does them justice, as always, but his co-star, an extraordinary 12-year-old named Helena Zengel, gets the best silences. They give the film its dimension of mystery,” opens the review in the Wall Street Journal.

News of the World opens on Dec. 25.