The cinema sector believes that the interests of the film industry and – more importantly – the customer are generally best served by the existence of a clear and sustainable ‘window’ between the release of a film in a cinema theatre and on any other platform.
Changes to the release window are a matter for negotiation between the studio and operator concerned. But in general the Association and its members would be concerned about any changes in this area which might have a negative impact on the UK cinema industry.
Cinema is not the music industry, where existing business models are widely seen as broken. UK cinema admissions have remained strong over the last 25 years.
Many cinemas have invested huge amounts of their own money in improving the cinema-going experience, most recently through digitisation and now installation of new technologies such as immersive sound. Without a clear window between a film’s theatrical release and its release on other platforms, that investment is at risk.
That is not to say that the release window should be – or indeed has been – set in stone. Over the last decade and more, its length in the UK has fallen significantly, from around from 27 weeks in 1999 to an average of just over 15 weeks at the current time.
And beneath that average, a significant number of smaller films observe release windows of just a few weeks or even days.
But the sector strongly believe that a wholesale move to an unacceptably short (or even no) window would put hundreds of cinemas up and down the country at risk, along with the jobs and local services they support, leading to less rather than more film choices for the public.