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Cinemas boycotting Scorsese's The Irishman

Newshub logoNewshub 8/11/2019 James Fyfe
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New Zealand's largest cinema chains appear to be boycotting Martin Scorsese's new film The Irishman, which is currently the odds-on favourite to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

The gangster film, starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, has caused an uproar - not for its content, but because of a deal struck between the iconic filmmaker and Netflix.

The deal means that instead of giving the movie a decent cinema run - the usual period is around three months - before a home release, The Irishman will be available to stream online after just one month.

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Cinemas have pushed back against the move and Australian theatres - including Hoyts and Event Cinemas - won't be showing the film at all.

A spokesperson for Event Cinemas NZ confirmed they also won't be showing the film, "consistent with their long-held position" on the 90-day window rule. 

"We only release content with a 90 window before release into home entertainment, regardless of source," Event Cinemas NZ told Newshub. 

The film is also not on the schedule for Hoyts Cinemas NZ.

However, The Irishman will show at Auckland's Academy Cinemas and other independent movie theatres across the country. 

a man sitting at a table: Watch: The AM show's entertainment correspondent Sam Rubin discusses Australian cinema's boycott of The Irishman. © Image - Netflix; Video - The AM Show Watch: The AM show's entertainment correspondent Sam Rubin discusses Australian cinema's boycott of The Irishman. Scorsese himself seemed nonplussed by the controversy, telling ABC News: "Some will see it in a theatre, and when it gets streamed it'll still be playing in theatres". 

"So those wonderful people will see it in theatres. But it's just a fact of life, if you want it this way this is how it's going to be shown."

The US$159 million movie was financed by Netflix and has so far received highly favourable reviews, gaining a 96 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and 94 percent on Metacritic.

Film award prediction website Gold Derby has The Irishman as its top pick to win Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2020 Academy Awards. 

The film is three-a-half-hours long and used breakthrough technology in its making.

"The movie is said to be excellent and very likely will dominate awards season," says The AM Show's entertainment correspondent Sam Rubin.

"The dilemma is Netflix paid for the whole thing because no movie studio would."

The move has sparked speculation about the future of the movie industry.

"Netflix is violating a major tenet of the movie business, what people refer to as the window - the window of time between when a movie is in a theatre and then when you can see it on other devices. 

"Traditionally, that window's always been three months. Now Netflix is saying because they paid for it and because they want their subscribers to be able to see it, they're limiting that window to 30 days," says Rubin.

"Many theatre owners are absolutely livid about it - they say that's not what Netflix talked about initially."

The Irishman will be available in selected cinemas in New Zealand on November 22 and be released on Netflix in December.

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