By Simon de Bruyn
The screenwriter and lead actor of The Combination, George Basha will front up to screenings of the film in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta from today, as part of an agreement reached between the film’s distributor and Greater Union.
On Sunday morning, Greater Union removed the film from four of its Sydney screens following reported outbreaks of violent behaviour during or following screenings.
Rather than buckle, newcomer distributor Australian Film Syndicate used the decision to its advantage, issuing several press releases about the topic and ensuring Basha and the film’s director David Field were on hand to discuss the issue with media.
In a matter of days the story raced around the world, and was covered in news outlets such as Reuters, the BBC and Fox News, as well as getting TV coverage on local programs such as the 7:30 Report and Sunrise.
Yesterday, both parties announced they had reached an agreement. AFS confirmed that together with Greater Union, they will provide additional security measures at cinemas and ensure Basha is on hand to introduce the film at Parramatta screenings.
On February 26, The Combination opened on 32 screens and took a total of $188,000 in its first four days.
Before the film’s release, AFS had stated its intention to weight the screen count towards suburbs populated by some of the nationalities in the film, rather than city centres, and launch a marketing campaign that would speak directly to this audience.