The UK Cinema Association has today offered a cautious welcome to changes announced for the BAFTA Film Awards which will see nominated titles required to make a greater commitment to their theatrical release.

The changes – announced today – will take effect for the 2025 Film Awards and require that titles nominated in the ‘Best Film’ category must be theatrically exhibited publicly for the first time to a paying audience on at least 50 commercial screens in the UK for at least seven days or the equivalent of at least 350 screenings. Currently the rules state films must have a minimum of 10 screenings per day for seven days, so a minimum of 70 screenings in aggregate.

BAFTA sees these changes as vital to ensure that the Awards are in step with release patterns in the UK, and that British cinema audiences have access to Best Film contenders on the big screen.

The eligibility requirement for all other categories remains unchanged.

Commenting on today’s announcement, UK Cinema Association Chief Executive Phil Clapp said:

‘I suspect most of our members will give today’s announcement a cautious welcome, but will at the same time hope that it’s just the first step towards a wider set of eligibility criteria ensuring that those titles being nominated – not just for Best Film but also the other major categories – are available to be enjoyed by the widest possible cinema audience. This would be something that not only benefits the industry at this time more than ever, but also ensures that the Awards themselves retain their relevance.

That said, we welcome the open way in with colleagues at BAFTA have engaged on this issue, and look forward to that conversation continuing, not least in the light of experience as we see these new rules come into effect.’