Palace Cinemas and Cinema Nova are among the locations that are screening Transmission Films’ The Report for one week on limited sessions before the political drama starts streaming on Amazon Prime on November 29.
Those exhibitors booked the Amazon Studios production which stars Adam Driver and Annette Bening as an alternate content release, a category traditionally reserved for non-theatrical fare such as live theatre, concerts, TV programs, sports events and anime films.
Executives at both companies staunchly support the 90-day theatrical window which is being challenged by the Netflix productions The King, The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes, which are playing at some independent cinemas three weeks before each drops on Netflix.
“Subverting the window is not in the long term interest of the consumer, producer, exhibitor or distributor as it hurts everyone in the value chain that produces, distributes and exhibits films, ultimately reducing content production and that hurts the consumer,” Palace Cinemas CEO Benjamin Zeccola tells IF.
“Cinema and home entertainment can prosper together as they have for so long already. I do think a clear win-win solution is available so it needn’t be seen as a zero sum game. There’s no benefit to anyone in collapsing the window.”
Zeccola adds: “Alternate content policies shouldn’t be applied to motion pictures with characters and a narrative simply to avoid the window.”
The big question now is: Which cinemas will be willing to screen Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang, which Transmission is launching in cinemas on January 9, 17 days before the Australia Day premiere on Stan as a Stan Original?
Cinema Nova co-executive director Natalie Miller saw the bushranger epic at the Toronto International Film Festival but will not screen it due to the abbreviated window.
“We are very adamant about upholding the 90 days window if this remains the industry standard,” Miller tells IF.
“My view Is Netflix need to soften their attitude. They would make heaps of money and still have their subscribers (if they agreed to a longer window).”
Transmission is yet to discuss Kurzel’s film with Zeccola, who says, “If we were to be approached, an agreement regarding a fair and reasonable holdback will be a condition precedent.”