How did Replicas end up in theaters instead of on VOD?

This weekend, a new science fiction thriller starring Keanu Reeves opens on more than 2,000 movie screens nationwide. This won’t seem unusual to moviegoers old enough to remember the 1990s and the 2000s, when science fiction thrillers starring Keanu Reeves regularly showed up in wide release. But it will seem unusual to anyone who sees Replicas, and wonders how a D-grade picture scored both Reeves and a broad theatrical distribution deal, even in the cinematic dead zone of January.

These days, plenty of D-grade pictures featuring big-name actors of the ‘90s and ‘00s are produced quickly and cheaply for the streaming market. Just ask Bruce Willis, Nicolas Cage, or John Cusack. With so many avenues of distribution, it can be tricky to…

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