LOS ANGELES — When Cary Fukanaga’s gut-punching child soldier drama Beasts of No Nation opens Friday in theaters and on Netflix, a great experiment begins. A couple of them, really.

First, we’ll see the immediate results of Netflix’s mold-breaking theatrical distribution model. Then we’ll see its effect, if any, on the awards game.

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Beasts is Netflix’ first true film release, which can be seen at 31 locations in the United States’ top 30 markets — though you won’t find it at the big theater chains, which are holding fast to their insistence on at least a 90-day window of exclusivity. That’s just standard policy for any movie that jumps the gun into home distribution, strictly enforced by the likes of AMC, Regal et al. And it looks like it’ll stay that way for a little while. Read more…

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‘Beasts of No Nation’ review: Netflix brings an Oscar contender to your TV