Roadshow shifts to day-and-date releases

Columns

It used to be that films had very different release patterns Down Under compared to the U.S. A family film released in summer in the U.S. could often be held back for up to six months for a late December school holiday release in Australia and New Zealand, our peak cinema season. But in recent years, more and more films have been released day-and-date with the U.S. The Lego Movie opened in February this year in the U.S. and Roadshow held it back until school holidays in April Down Under. Roadshow recently opined that because of this decision they lost up to A$5 million gross on the film due to online piracy. Another factor is that different films were in competition with The Lego Movie in April than it would have had in February.

Roadshow now says that it will be standard policy to release Hollywood movies at around the same time as their U.S. release. An exception will be made for some films that are in contention for Academy Awards. Films released in November-December in the U.S. to qualify for the Academy Awards are often held back Down Under until late January or early February to benefit from higher publicity levels once the nominations are announced.
 
New Zealand has submitted the Maori-language film The Dead Lands as its entry in the Oscar Foreign-Language Film category.
 
Australia's only TV show concentrating on films only, "At the Movies," will end in December. The film-reviewing hosts, Margaret Pomerantz and David Stratton, have decided to call it quits after 28 years, and ABC has decided not to recast it. This leaves Australian TV with no regular television show reporting on new releases.
 
Film industry professionals have been urging State and Federal governments to establish a new headquarters for the National Film and Sound Archives in Sydney. A derelict inner-city area shortlisted for redevelopment has been suggested for the site.
 
The 2014 Australian International Movie Convention just ended on the Gold Coast. The conference celebrated the films of the past year with box-office awards and showed a wide variety of trailers for upcoming movies from both independent and major distributors. A number of new features were also premiered for delegates. John Fithian, CEO of the U.S. National Association of Theatre Owners, attended and took part in a fascinating panel discussion on prospects for the industry entitled "The Future Looks Bright.”

Send your Australia/New Zealand news to David Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com