HomeEntertainmentThe Whale Swims Into Theaters, But Is The Acclaimed Drama Available to...

The Whale Swims Into Theaters, But Is The Acclaimed Drama Available to Stream on OTT Platforms Yet?


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Brendan Fraser‘s mesmerizing performance as an obese and reclusive online instructor in The Whale has earned him universal acclaim and put him squarely in the Oscars race. Audiences are clamoring to see the powerful and poignant character study, directed by Darren Aronofsky, that has positioned itself as one of 2022’s most talked-about films.  

But as interest surges in The Whale, many movie fans are wondering: Is this acclaimed drama available to stream at home on over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Video yet? Or will viewers need to head out to theaters to catch Fraser’s much-buzzed-about turn?

The short answer is that, at least for now, The Whale is only playing in theaters. The film began its limited theatrical release in late 2022, before expanding nationwide through January and February 2023. It does not currently have an OTT streaming release date set.  

Given its status as an awards season contender, The Whale will likely remain a theatrical-only release for the next several months. Films gunning for Oscars and other major accolades typically get long, platform-committed theatrical windows to qualify for competition and build buzz.

The conventional wisdom is that The Whale won’t make its streaming debut until around late spring or summer of 2023 at the earliest. Its distributor, A24, has had success with this traditional rollout model in the past for acclaimed titles like Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Of course, in today’s rapidly evolving entertainment landscape where streaming reigns supreme, movie fans have grown accustomed to being able to watch new films from the comfort of home fairly quickly after their theatrical premieres. Services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others have programmed viewers to expect a shortened windowing period.

But films like The Whale, which are positioned as potential Oscar heavyweights from smaller indie distributors, tend to stick around in theaters for a while as part of a more traditional, platform-committed release strategy.

Theater owners still have significant leverage when it comes to high-profile award contenders and milking them for longer runs on the big screen, where they can maximize revenues. A24 and other specialty distributors rely on that extended artistic window to let critically-acclaimed films like The Whale build strong word-of-mouth over time.

So for now, your only way to see Brendan Fraser’s celebrated performance is to head out to your local theater and experience The Whale in its intended environment. Missing out on Fraser’s tour-de-force portrayal of the 600-pound gay recluse Charlie on the big screen would truly be a shame.

The movie has drawn raves for its sensitive and intelligent perspective on obesity, discrimination, and loneliness. Aronofsky’s inward drama largely unfolds within the confined setting of Charlie’s apartment, heightening the sense of metaphorical and literal captivity for the isolated English teacher attempting to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink).

In his quest for redemption and a final chance at repairing their relationship, Charlie enlists the aid of a trusted friend and LGBTQ+ missionary (Hong Chau) to help bridge the gap. What ensues is a penetrating character study that explores ideas of accountability, shame, and the possibility of change even in the face of life’s cruelties.

Fraser imbues the heartbreaking Charlie with incredible humanity and pathos through his emotionally raw performance. Under masses of prosthetic makeup, he captures the character’s fragility and regret over letting life pass him by. It’s a true return to form for the one-time action star that has moved audiences to tears.

The film’s poignancy and subtle storytelling already have many pundits pegging it as a major Oscars player, especially for Fraser in the Best Actor race. Nominations from the Screen Actors Guild Awards and other major critics groups have solidified The Whale’s status as a 2023 awards season frontrunner so far.

Bottom line: if you’re looking to get in on the ground floor and experience one of this year’s most searing and acclaimed dramas, you’ll need to catch The Whale in theaters in the coming weeks and months. Keep an eye out for showtimes at your local arthouse or mainstream theater to not miss out on Fraser’s career-redefining performance


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