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Oz Cinemas Boycott Netflix, Scorsese Gangster Flick

Almost every cinema in Australia has boycotted the release of Martin Scorsese’s latest gangster flick The Irishman starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino following revelations Netflix struck a deal to stream the movie early.

Netflix, who ‘came in and said they’d do it’ according to David Scorsese when speaking to the ABC, with the trade-off being that the film is streamed within four weeks of its 7 November release date, breaking the traditional 90-day turnaround window for at-home entertainment release.

Cinema operators have been outraged over the move considering the 90-day window ‘sacrosanct’, resulting in nearly every movie theatre removing The Irishman from its lineup altogether.

The break-in tradition has alarmed the National Association of Cinema Operators who represents cinema chains and independent operators across Australasia.

Chairman of the association, David Seargeant stated their commitment to the ‘theatrical window’ after speaking to Inside Film magazine.

Fortunately for the few cinema operators that are screening the film, they are using it is as promotional material labelling it as an ‘exclusive’ screening.

It comes as Netlfix’s spending reaches astronomical heights at US$3.7 billion for the third quarter of 2019, an increase of $2.7 billion since Q1 2015.

This move by Scorcese and Netflix represents another stage in the ongoing feud between cinemas and streaming services, though by no means is this battle exclusive with Amazon also pulling the same move through the release of its original films Brittany Runs A Marathon and The Report.

Fortunately, Melbourne cinema owner Eddie Tamir is optimistic about what streaming services could do for cinemas in the long-term, stating that people have been declaring the demise of cinema for ‘about 70 years’.

‘We hope that cinema keeps dying for the next 70 years’.

Eddie may find safety in the likes of Apple who reached out to cinema chains and entertainment executives in the US to produce traditional theatrical-release movies before they are made available for streaming.

Unlike Netflix and Amazon, Apple views the marketing potential of Hollywood glamour as a powerful tool for its streaming service rather than as just another commercial platform for its content.

With talks in Australia breaking down with Netflix, time will tell how long cinemas will be able to stand up to the might of the streaming giants.

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