Marco Graf as Pepe, from left to right, Daniela Demesa as Sofi, Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marina De Tavira as Sofia, Diego Cortina Autrey as Tone, Carlos Peralta as Paco Jacobson are shown in a scene from "Rome" written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón in this cast photo. With the great epic of director Alfonso Cuarón "Rome" floating in a cloud of positive critical hums, the Netflix film is destined to be an important candidate for the awards. But that does not mean that the Oscar-winning "Gravedad" black-and-white Spanish-language film will play at their local theater.
Carlos somonte / The Canadian press
TORONTO – With the dramatic epic "Rome" by director Alfonso Cuarón floating in a cloud of positive comments, the Netflix film seems destined to be an important candidate for the awards.
But, unlike other better films, the Oscar bets "A Star Is Born", "Black Panther" and "Widows", is a way to get there without playing in theaters across the country.
Despite a critically acclaimed premiere at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, Netflix is only screening the Spanish-language film from the Oscar-winning director of "Gravity" at a small number of theaters in Canada.
Only Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are scheduled to play "Rome" at this point, with the possibility that other cities will show the film if it is a success.
And only one theater is showing it before the remote control does: TIFF Bell Lightbox, premiere in downtown Toronto, premieres "Rome" on Thursday. The theaters of Montreal and Vancouver do not have it until December 14, the same day that "Rome" makes its world debut on Netflix.
The strategy reflects Oscar ambitions on the big screen that do not really include a strong commitment to theaters.
"For Netflix, everything returns to the monthly subscription," says Katie Bailey, content manager for Playback, the film industry's business publication.
"They accumulate their income $ 9.99 at a time."
Netflix acquired the rights for Cuarón's semi-autobiographical tribute to his native Mexico with the purpose of putting it on the small screen.
Reed Hastings, the company's chief executive, has long accused film exhibitors of not being able to think outside of multiplex boxes. He has called Hollywood to release more movies to watch at home the same day they open in theaters.
That position has put Netflix in a difficult place as exhibitors distance themselves and some within the film industry see the company as a competitive threat.
Netflix has managed to win Oscars for both its feature length documentary and its shorts in recent years, but has not managed to get gold in the main prize categories.
It's hard not to see the company's Oscar campaigns as unenthusiastic.
The theatrical careers for "Mudbound" and "Beasts of No Nation," which are required to qualify for the Oscars, were reserved at smaller theaters in Los Angeles and New York, making it difficult for even the local audience to find it.
No film made the Oscar nominations in victories.
Now "Roma" is being bathed by an almost unanimous critical praise, with moviegoers reveling in its black and white cinematography and its surrounding sound. During TIFF, Oscar's forecasters saw possible nominations for Cuaron, the newly arrived actress Yalitza Aparicio and the best film.
But Canada's largest exhibitor, Cineplex, is not interested in showing a movie that goes to the small screen in a few weeks.
"We are more than happy to play their movies if they follow the same rules as everyone else," says CEO Ellis Jacob in a recent Netflix interview.
Cineplex has long maintained a window policy of 90 days between the theatrical debut of a film and its appearance for rent or broadcast at home.
It's a niche, an artistic film that only a small audience will pay at full price to watch, suggests Bailey.
"Two people – $ 30 easy. In addition to popcorn, "she says.
"You can get a lot of Netflix for that."
– With files of Tara Deschamps.
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