Paramount Pictures has made Selma available to rent for free starting today for the month of June. Ava DuVernay's 2014 biopic chronicles the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Played by David Oyelowo in the movie, King was one of the most prominent voices in the Civil Rights Movement who advocated for equality through nonviolent activism. DuVernay, taking to Twitter, shared the news.
"Happy to share: Paramount Pictures is offering Selma for free rental on all US digital platforms for June, starting today. We've gotta understand where we've been to strategize where we're going. History helps us create the blueprint. Onward."
Selma chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson, played by Tom Wilkinson, in the movie, signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This served as one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. King was assassinated three years later in 1968 by James Earl Ray. Martin Luther King Jr. has remained a prominent and recognized leader in the fight for civil rights in the decades since his death.
This comes following the death of George Floyd. The Minnesota man was killed in police custody after the arresting officer held his neck to Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. All four officers who were on the scene have been arrested. Protests have erupted around the country in response, with sweeping calls equality and police reform. Paramount, in a statement, had this to say.
"55 years after the historic marches from Selma, as we witness the expression of decades of collective pain, we should reflect on Dr. King's words: 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' We hope this small gesture will encourage people throughout the country to examine our nation's history and reflect on the ways that racial injustice has infected our society. The key message of Selma is the importance of equality, dignity and justice for all people. Clearly, that message is as vital today as it was in 1965."
Warner Bros. recently made a similar move by making last year's Just Mercy available to rent for free in June. Criterion also recently lifted a paywall to allow people to stream a selection of movies by black filmmakers for free. Additionally, horror-themed streaming service Shudder recently made its documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror available to stream for free as well.
Selma was met with widespread critical acclaim upon its release, currently boasting a 99 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Glory won the Oscar for Best Original Song. The movie is now available for free from Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube, Google Play and other retailers. You can check out the announcement from Ava DuVernay's Twitter.