Roadshow Films will release nearly every major film before, simultaneously or close to the US.
Village Roadshow co-chairman/ CEO Graham Burke announced the new strategy today, which starts with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar on November 6 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 on November 20, both one day before the US.
Burke said the accelerated releases will help address “the insidious piracy that is endangering film production, theatres, TV and sports.”
Addressing the government’s copyright forum earlier this month, he said the decision to hold back the release of The LEGO Movie had been “one hell of a mistake” and pledged to move release dates up to coincide with the US.
Burke has been lobbying the government to force ISPs to block piracy sites and to issue three warnings to subscribers who download content. After the third warning, the ISP should slow, or shape, the user’s internet service. He has suggested content owners and the ISPs split the costs of administering that scheme.
“It makes total sense that when a movie opens and the web is ablaze with chatter that we capitalise on the timeliness and worldwide excitement,” he said today. He indicated some titles may be delayed briefly due to school holidays, competitive dating and lack of screens.
He also flagged slight delays for specialty films but said this would decrease “as we change over to the new release pattern.”
One Aussie distributor applauded the move although he said the major studios already are launching most major titles either day-and-date or close to the US. “Graham is leading the charge; going out closer to the US is the right way,” he said.
The initiative may prompt some independents to speed up their releases or, on occasions, to move films away from the majors’ releases.
There will still be quite a lag in some Roadshow releases. For example The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens here on December 26, nine days after the US.
Foxcatcher, a true crime drama directed by Moneyball’s Bennett Miller and starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Vanessa Redgrave, opens in the US on November 14 but won’t go out here until January 29, positioned to capitalise on the Academy Awards.
Horrible Bosses 2 is slated for November 23 in the US and December 11 here. Similarly Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, which stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, debuts in the US on Christmas Day and on January 22 in Oz.