Theater Org Makes Case for Netflix to Embrace Cinema

   Jan. 14, 2019-The leading movie-theater trade group makes a plea to Netflix to embrace cinema runs with its original movie productions, via a by-line article published in trade newspaper Variety.
   The opinion article by John Fithian—head of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners (NATO)—looks at Netflix-distributed film Roma, which is the arty,
Netflix is not particularly supportive of an exclusive theatrical window

Spanish-language film in black-and-white getting rave reviews this awards season.
   Netflix gave Roma a truncated theatrical release in advance of streaming following pressure from its renowned director Alfonso Cuarón and movie-industry opinion leaders. Fithian wrote that streamer “stumbled, reluctantly, haltingly into exclusive theatrical distribution.” The Roma exclusive window for cinema was just three weeks—versus three months minimum normally—after which Netflix pumped the acclaimed movie out via streaming.
   Netflix is the streamer most inclined to skip or minimize the theatrical-release window (in comparison rival Amazon is praised by cinema owners for giving its best films meaningful theatrical releases).
   Fithian notes that the cream of the foreign-language crop can generate meaningful business in U.S. theatrical windows and cites Ida as an example. Fithian says that the Polish film, “directed by Poland’s Pawel Pawlikowski, in Polish-language, shot in black and white, won the Oscar for foreign language film in 2015. It was released in May 2014 and played for 53 weeks in theaters — 137 at its widest release, comparable to Roma’s footprint — and grossed $3.8 million. It had a release window of 130 days. It began an 18-month streaming run on Netflix in November 2014 and no doubt saw an increase in viewership there when it won the Oscar. We can only guess at that of course, because Netflix doesn’t generally release data.”
   As the streamers fund more movies, their policies on whether being accommodating to cinema release or dismissive will have a major impact on Hollywood. Whether holding back streaming release to get decent cinema bookings is an industry tension at the moment.
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