Community theatres struggle to stay in business

Columns

Around 95% of independent cinemas in Australasia have converted to digital. Several of the other 5% are expected to close forever following news from distributors that they will soon cease supplying film prints. Many of these 5% are community theatres that only show films one or two days a week, and the cost of conversion is well out of their budget. Independent Cinemas Association of Australia chief executive Adrianne Pecotic says that her association is "encouraging governments to provide subsidies for those final smaller community cinemas to convert, so they can remain important services in their community."
 
Box-office figures are the new battleground Down Under. New Zealand-based group Vista is about to launch Numero, described as a faster and cheaper alternative to the current supplier of box-office data, Rentrak. Although no dates have been announced, the new service is expected to start shortly in Australia and New Zealand with other territories to follow. No doubt Rentrak will not take this attack lying down.
 
Cate Blanchett is keen to make the new U.S. drama Truth in Australia, so that she can be near her family. Truth stars Robert Redford as CBS journalist Dan Rather and Blanchett as his producer Mary Maples and covers the period when “60 Minutes” became involved in a scandal over a report that George W. Bush had evaded the Vietnam draft.
 
The Australian thriller Son of a Gun has been acquired by distributors in most major territories. Ewan McGregor stars as Australia's most wanted criminal. He befriends a young petty criminal who has just been imprisoned in the same cellblock, using the new guy in his plan to escape. The film opens in Australia in October, with the Netherlands (Dutch Filmworks) release planned for February next year. Release dates for the US (A24), Canada (Mongrel), U.K. (Koch), France (TFI) and other territories have not been announced as yet.
 
Made on a smaller budget, the powerful drama Drown has sold to the U.K. (Peccadillo), the U.S. (Strand) and Germany (Salzgeber). In this adaptation of a successful local stage play, three Aussie surfer mates go on a wild night of sex, violence and home truths.

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