‘True History of the Kelly Gang’
The Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace is still screening Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman although it’s streaming on Netflix and has booked Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang, which opens on January 9, 17 days before it premieres on Stan.
But Alex Temesvari, general manager of the Cremorne cinema, insists he supports the traditional 90-day theatrical window – for 90 per cent of releases.
“I am a big supporter of the traditional window but it’s become abundantly clear that the one size fits all model does not work for all films,” Temesvari tells IF.
“There are definitely occasions when limited seasons for specialty product is more appropriate. If certain types of content go to streaming three weeks later, it doesn’t have a big impact on the cinema audience for these films.
“If someone wants to see the film early on the big screen with an audience and have an interactive experience, nothing will stop them.”
The major chains are fiercely protecting the traditional window and have been critical of the cinemas including Dendy, the Eddie Tamir family-owned Randwick Ritz Cinemas and Melbourne’s Lido, Classic and Cameo cinemas, and the Backlot Perth that screened the Netflix productions The King, The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes.
Scorsese’s Mob drama starts its seventh week at the Orpheum tomorrow, playing one session a day. Exhibitors aren’t allowed to reveal B.O. figures due to an NDA with Netflix but Temesvari says The Irishman on its opening week at his cinema took almost 50 times more than the frame’s wide release, Warner Bros’ Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep.
The exhibitor was heartened to see the film starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci attracted a lot of people who had not been to his cinema before. Some even wrote letters to thank the cinema for screening it.
“Some people in the industry were suggesting that by running The Irishman in a limited theatrical season a few weeks before streaming that we were setting some kind of precedent to start reducing the window for all releases,” he says.
“Clearly that’s not the case. It’s really a case by case basis. Sometimes we will run that product, sometimes not. No one got short-changed because we screened The Irishman.”
Temesvari agrees the traditional hold-back makes sense for hits such as Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, The Joker and Yesterday.
The Orpheum will screen Kurzel’s bushranger epic, which stars George MacKay, Russell Crowe, Essie Davis, Nicholas Hoult and Charlie Hunnam, for one session a day for the first week, and will extend the season if it performs.
The cinema screened Marriage Story, The Two Popes and Transmission’s alternate content release The Report.
Trading at that venue this year is on a par with 2018 despite the lack of a break-out hit like Bohemian Rhapsody, which ranks as the cinema’s third-highest grosser of all time behind Swedish masterpiece As It Is in Heaven and The King’s Speech.