‘Just Mercy’: Why Is Warner Bros. Streaming the True Story Legal Drama For Free?

Since the death of George Floyd as a result of police brutality on May 25, 2020, the nation and the world at large are responding in protest of an unnecessary and unjust death.

'Just Mercy' Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx
‘Just Mercy’ Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

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In response, Warner Brothers is allowing free streaming of its 2019 film, Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. Here’s why.

Jamie Foxx is participating in protests and calling on action from fellow celebrities

Actor and activist Jamie Foxx joined protesters in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, to support those gathering to decry his death, which took place in police custody.

Foxx told those gathered in May 2020 that he had not come in the capacity of a celebrity but because, “at the end of the day when we see you guys out here on the frontline, we want to let you know you got support.”

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At a San Francisco event in June 2020, Foxx galvanized supporters saying, “You can’t sit back, you can’t tweet, you can’t text, you gotta get out here. We have to make sure change can come when it comes to police brutality. There has to be a deterrent. If that man can be handcuffed, if that man [Derek Chauvin] can sit on that man’s [Floyd’s] neck for that long and feel comfortable about it, that means that he’s not afraid of what’s going to happen.”

Warner Bros.’ announcement this week about ‘Just Mercy’

Following George Floyd’s death and the aftermath, Warner Brothers, which distributes the film Just Mercy announced this week that the film will be free to viewers through digital providers for the month of June.

The film, set in 1980s Alabama, follows young attorney Bryan Stevenson, played by Michael B. Jordan, who runs a law office for the wrongly accused and the poor. One of his first cases is death-row inmate Walter McMillian, portrayed by Foxx. McMillian is sentenced to execution for a shocking murder he denies committing.

The entertainment company explained their decision to provide free streaming for Just Mercy.

“We believe in the power of story,” Warner Bros. said. “Our film Just Mercy, based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, is one resource we can humbly offer to those who are interested in learning more about the systemic racism that plagues our society.”

Twitter’s reaction

There were many positive reactions to Warner Bros.’ announcement on Twitter this week, with many recommending that the book the movie is based on, by Bryan Stevenson, be read as well.

“The book is excellent,” one tweet read. “If you watch the movie, you’ll still want to read the book. There’s a lot more in the book.”

Another tweet mirrored that one, reacting positively to Warner Bros.’ news, saying “I think that’s great.. BUT, it’s just one part of what Bryan Stevenson shows us in his book Just Mercy. Highly recommend reading the book first and then watching the movie.”

One tweet didn’t respond as positively, saying instead, “I’m sure Warner Bros can have a huge hand in fixing this problem instead of getting a ton of streams.”

Rent ‘Just Mercy’ for free for the month of June 2020 on streaming platforms.