Third Window Announces No More Theatrical Releases
Third Window Films has been one of the UK's leading distributors and proponents of East Asian cinema here in the UK since it was founded in 2005.
This week, the company's founder, Adam Torel, announced that due to the poor performance of Himizu at the box office the company will no longer continue to release films theatrically.
This has wider implications beyond the lack of East Asian movies on the big screen as many Japanese film companies insist on a theatrical release as part of the agreement to license their films abroad.
Adam wrote a long letter to Twitchfilm.com going into depth about the situation, which you can read in full here but some of the key points are summarised below:
- The cost of having films certified by the BBFC is very high: £8.40 per minute plus a handling free of £120. If that was not bad enough, the BBFC charges separately for theatrical and DVD/Blu-ray. So if you release a film in cinemas before DVD, you have to pay double.
- Independent distributors like Third Window receive a lower percentage of the box office than big studios.
- Roughly 80% of the UK's "arthouse" cinemas are owned or booked by two companies that promote their own releases first and foremost.
Adam's letter is well worth reading for anyone with an interest in non-mainstream cinema and the challenges faced by independent distributors. An e-petition has been started to pressure the BBFC to lower its fees which you can sigh on their website.
Himizu is still playing at the ICA in London until 14 June, so there is no better time to get out and support East Asian cinema.