One of the UK’s biggest cinema chains, Vue, has threatened to boycott the Baftas after the success of Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma at its recent ceremony, where it won four awards including best film.
In an open letter, Vue’s chief executive Tim Richards said Bafta had broken its own rules by allowing Roma to be eligible for its awards, saying: “We believe that Bafta has not lived up to its usual high standards this year in choosing to endorse and promote a ‘made for TV’ film that audiences were unable to see on a big screen.”
Academy - Opportunity - Principle - Bafta - Awards
He added: “It saddens me that the Academy has chosen to ignore the opportunity to defend this principle. I regret that in future we will not be able to support the Bafta awards as we usually do unless the Academy board reconsiders its eligibility criteria.”
Roma’s distribution rights were purchased by streaming giant Netflix, who opted to give the film a short run in cinemas before releasing it on its website. However, Richards says that, while “Cuarón is an incredible film-maker for whom I have a huge amount of respect”, the film’s tiny cinema release should have resulted its exclusion from the Bafta awards. Citing Bafta’s own regulation that “films should not be screened purely to qualify them for these awards”, Richards says: “It is clear that Netflix made at best a token effort to screen Roma, screening it to less than 1% of the UK market solely because it wanted an award. How could Bafta let this happen?”
Netflix - Deal - UK - Distributors - Curzon
While Netflix has a deal with UK distributors Curzon to release its films in its chain of arthouse cinemas, it does not report box office figures to data analysts Comscore, who provide information for the box office charts. Richards says Netflix’s “tactics and secrecy … is another example of how...
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