Third Window Films stops with theatrical distribution, and this is why.

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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Third Window Films stops with theatrical distribution, and this is why.
This week Adam Torel, the managing director of Third Window Films, announced on Facebook that TWF would no longer distribute any of its films theatrically due to, quote: "...the resounding opening weekend failure of "Himizu" (and that of "Villain" before it)..."
This is sad news indeed. TWF is one of those companies we really, REALLY like here at ScreenAnarchy. Adam has taken some very courageous risks with his company to provide us moviefans access to titles which nobody else seems to have noticed. It's thanks to him that most people got exposed (haha) to "Love Exposure". To see his passion for movies go unrewarded in the current market is worrying.

And it's not just that fans of Asian films in the UK are now missing out on theatrical distribution, there is an evil side-effect to this. Japanese rightsholders often demand a theatrical distribution as part of the total package, and now that Adam can no longer afford to offer that he will not be able to acquire many of the bigger, well-known titles anymore. TWF may have to focus solely on the really, REALLY obscure titles from now on and that is a shame, as anyone who has bought a TWF disc will surely agree.

Now some of you may say: tough luck, but if that's the current market so be it. If you distribute something people just aren't interested in, do not start crying when you do not make a profit.
That statement is of course true up to a point, but then you assume that the deck is stacked evenly for everyone. When we asked Adam for a comment on why TWF has taken its recent decisions we got a heartfelt reply from him. He does not mince his words and there are several surprising items of information in there most people do not know about.

His letter is a rare insight into the world of the small distributors, and for that reason we have decided to print it in full. Here it is, so please read it in full. And even better: comment!

Over to you, Adam:

I don't think people most people realize how hard it is for independent theatrical distribution in the UK. Even my friends who run distribution companies in other countries are amazed when I tell them. In my opinion it comes down to 3 things which hurt us more than most:

1: In the UK we MUST certify all films with the BBFC. In the US you can release a film 'unrated', but obviously other countries make it mandatory. The main problem with the UK is that the BBFC require you to certify your film both theatrically and for home video separately, each at a MASSIVE cost. Even though they're watching the exact same film and will give it exactly the same rating they still charge you twice! and the cost is astronomical! £8.40 per minute of film plus a handling fee of £120!! Imagine the costs for certifying "Love Exposure" for both theatrical and dvd = more than £4,000!!! Why the need to review the film twice? it's the same bloody film!! and get this: they actually watch DVD submissions AT HOME! I wish I got paid so much money to watch a film!

2: For independents we get the lowest percentage of a cinema screen take than any other country I know. In America it's a 50/50 split between cinemas and distributors. Same in Japan. Most places in Europe it's between 45-50% to distributors. What do I get for the majority of screens I play in?? 25%!!! At best sometimes 35%! When "Himizu" played this weekend at the Prince Charles Cinema I barely covered the cost of the 2 posters I gave them to hang up!

3: In the UK, about 80% of all the independent/arthouse cinemas are either owned by or booked by 2 companies, and BOTH of them are distribution labels who tend to play their own films in their own cinemas (one of them just started, but it's a worrying trend). In America I believe this is illegal, but here it's commonplace and when they're not playing their own releases they're playing "Prometheus", which actually played across the whole entire chain of both these 'arthouse' cinema bookers/owners. With a film like "Prometheus" I'm sure as an audience member it's not like it'll be hard to see it, so why does every single arthouse cinema need to play it when it's also playing at every multiplex? Even The Barbican, London's most well-known non-for-profit totally Arthouse cinema/theatre/art gallery was playing "Prometheus"!! 10 years ago and before the situation was much different, with many truly independent cinemas existing in London and the UK, but now there are barely none. Even the ICA Cinema, which was the last truly independent cinema which took real risks on many NON-EUROPEAN independent films has now been taken over by a massive cinema booking agency and are now playing "Moonrise Kingdom" (which is playing at nearly EVERY other cinema in the UK).

To be honest I've just had enough. I want to get these films out there to the mainstream, but I wonder if either there is not the audience, or the cinemas don't give the films enough of a chance to build one. When "Himizu" played this weekend at The Prince Charles Cinema (the least 'independent' independent cinema out there) and the Curzon Renoir. The Curzon Renoir only played the film as matinée screenings for only 3 days, and the Prince Charles only gave the film 4 screenings, of which 2 of them were weekday 1pm screenings. If cinemas don't have faith in the films, then how can you expect the audience to warm to them, yet as no audience comes due to lack of faith instilled by the cinemas (absolutely no promotion by cinemas) then it's hard to take when they say 'see, I told you there was no audience'. Maybe if people turned up in drones it would convince the cinemas to take the films on, but if they're not giving the films the appropriate faith or screen time then how can they expect audiences to come?? It's just a vicious cycle and I've had enough trying to fly the flag of Japanese cinema by myself on a large scale. I spent more than £20,000 on advertising and marketing to get "Himizu" promoted in cinemas with the whole purpose of trying to show the public what 'different' films were out there, but with this constant disappointment I've just had enough.

Ironically the head programmer for the Curzon Cinemas (one of the big arthouse cinema owners and bookers - owned by Artificial Eye) was actually invited to chair a recent panel discussion on why Asian Cinema isn't distributed in the UK. I wasn't invited, but it struck me as rather odd that the Curzon Cinema, the UK's most well-known 'arthouse' cinema is right now playing "Prometheus" & "Moonrise Kingdom" and the last Japanese film I remember them playing was "Takeshis", and that was only because it was released by Artificial Eye!

In my opinion there is always an audience out there for anything. When I started releasing Japanese films which went outside the spectrum of those released prior (the classics of Kurosawa/Ozu ; the French sales-agent handled Kitano/Koreeda ; the extreme of Miike/Nakata) I lost tons of money, but I realized that if you try again and again and get the word out there on a large enough scale you'll be able to either find the audience or cultivate a new one. It's just that these cinemas don't want to take a risk on anything non-European or out of their comfort zones and with so few cinemas left it's becoming more and more futile.

I want to stress that what I've been trying to achieve is something a whole lot more than the occasional one-off screening at some small cinema, but to make the whole UK pickup their ears and embrace alternative cinema from the East, and I'm trying this on a very large scale with lots of time and money spent attempting biggish theatrical releases and huge advertising spends which, to be honest, I can't actually afford. It was all done with a long-term goal of losing large amounts of money, but generating enough long term interest and audience that in the future East Asian cinema could easily find its way into cinemas in the UK like it used to. Unfortunately though, it seems that without help it's proved to be too big a battle for one person.

Unfortunately, as a small company I used the fact that I would take financial risks on getting films into cinemas as a carrot to use with Japanese companies to negotiate them giving me bigger titles at smaller prices. I just can't do that anymore, and without the press and promotion raised from theatrical releases (critics rarely review straight to video titles) then I can't acquire larger films anymore so I'm really disappointed.

Pardon the long message, but I'm really depressed about all this!

Adam Torel - Managing Director

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Here's a link to Third Window Films' website.
leo.says.grrJune 10, 2012 7:37 AM

An interesting letter, for sure.

But I'm just not sure there exists the market for this stuff in the UK, even in a place as big and multicultural as London.

Even if I think back five or ten years to the heyday of new Korean cinema here I can still count on one hand the number of films that made an impact. Crouching Tiger did well but that was off the back of an Oscar win. Even the festivals these days seem to be down in terms of attendance (though I'm tempted to say that's due to a decline in quality as well) and if you can't get bums on seats for one-off, very advanced screenings of fresh films you're not going to manage it for anything else.

I applaud Third Window's efforts but I do think it's a battle they were destined to lose. Maybe if they'd been able to ride the brief Korean wave something would have changed but that boat has sailed.

JasonJune 10, 2012 7:48 AM

Twitchers / Adam

This is so sad.  I'm a big fan of both Asian films - especially of late - and independent ones.  Many of these Japanese (outside-the-box or plain different) films are thanks to Adam of Third Window Films.  

Forever supporting Adam in his quest, I also review heavily his more recent output in my reviews ( in the hope they reach others.  Indeed, they do... But like Adam frustratingly states, if these films are not given the right time-slots, amount of showings etc and instead given to 'Hollywood Blockbusters / Commercial Titles' there is even less hope for Third Window.

They've had their fair share of loss too, with the riots but this most recent news is tragic to not just is Asian or Japanese movie fans but to 'different' films in general. This is the same for Terracotta Distribution also.

Such a shame... these film companies have not only enhanced by filmic input but also my output (heavily reviving my passion for making films).

Frankly, England has got a bit big for it's boots - especially considering it's size in relation to the world.  Obviously it's not just the land that is England but greed and the lack of other risk-takers at such venues.  This said, I do know some of these films do have to show one or two 'biggies' contractually - I put this question a while ago to my local (The Tricycle - Cinema/theatre) and that's what they said... Albeit we were talking about a one-off showing of a Pixar film rather than a run of "Moonrise Kingdom" which they now have advertised.

People like myself want desperately to help and would even help 'invest' alongside Adam, to a degree (financial capability depending) but alas I can't see that happening.

Lastly, I like the Curzon 'chain' but it's such a shame the way they're barely only independent any more.

Yours, depressed-also,

Jason V.

Niels MatthijsJune 10, 2012 8:04 AM

It's sad news alright. TWF is a company that caters to the likes of people like me. Then again, they are a small company and cannot be relied upon to release certain titles. I have a couple of TCM DVDs at home, but most of the time TCM is trumped by HK or Taiwan releases of the same film, featuring EN subs. When those are available, I won't wait for a possible release outside of these countries.

The problem with such niche films is that their audience is global, often not restricted to a single country. Frankly I care very little about the quality of packaging, extras and the likes. I'm usually so thrilled that one of my favored films appears on DVD that I buy it right away, before it goes oop (which happened a few times already - if anyone can get me a DVD, I'd appreciate it a lot). I hope Kotoko does well, a film that hasn't had an EN-friendly release elsewhere and which I will definitely pick up from TWF when it's released.

Somehow in Europe it's very difficult to sustain interest in Eastern films (unless you live in France) thoguh, just look at the latest releases of Kitano or Ki-duk. Five years ago they were critic's favorites, now nobody even cares they released a new film. For each new film, you have to bring out the hype machine, which in the end costs more than it will earn you.

J WoodJune 10, 2012 8:30 AM

The piece has annoyed me for a number of reasons, not least of which is your narrow minded and short sighted view of what Curzon cinemas does. I think you have very little idea of how the specialised sector functions in the UK. Curzon has a long tradition of supporting independent films and independent companies and to cite the example of us playing Moonrise Kingdom and films only released by Artificial Eye is utter rubbish. We have played countless Asian films since Takeshis. Ask Verve, Soda, Arrow, Axiom, New Wave or any of the other companies about our level of support for films such as Alamar, Dogtooth, Carancho or Once Upon A Time in Anatolia. Yes, we play Moonrise Kingdom and there is no reason to defend this decision. It is a film by an auteur director and audiences are interested in seeing it. For every film such as Moonrise Kingdom there are countless other initiatives that we undertake for purely cultural and not commercial reasons. To blame Curzon, Picturehouse, the ICA etc for the failure of your company is perhaps a view taken in the heat of the moment and whilst I take no pleasure in seeing your company cease to exist in the theatrical marketplace I think you also need to consider your own part and the part of resistant audiences in your failure.

osheakeriJune 10, 2012 10:18 AM

This saddens me - and surprises me. I didn't realise just how much of a buck the BBFC were turning on all this, but it looks like there's yet another fistful of nails to hammer into the coffin here in the UK.

As for 'audience resistance', I really don't think there is that resistance. People are still interested in unusual films but they lack the chances to get to see them, because cinemas want to play it safe. From my experience of one of the chain arthouse cinemas I believe you're describing, there is very little scope to take the risks on a new film, and even less budget to promote that film. And, when a non-blockbuster does turn up, as has happened recently, it's a re-release of an old, readily-available movie like a Hammer horror that people are understandably less keen to pay the best part of a tenner to see. I know that cinemas have their hands tied to an extent, but as someone who would gladly have supported Himizu, for instance, it's very frustrating from the other side too.Somewhere along the line, something has got badly messed up.

I'm very sad to hear about TWF.

Greg ChristieJune 10, 2012 11:24 AM

I think TWF is partly collateral damage to a much larger issue. Theatrical distribution is ailing as a whole and the first to die will be all of the small scale niche indie foreign distributors. Every theater in the UK is screening Prometheus because it's the only film with an earnest chance of turning a profit. No duh. Not sure how the UK cable network/digital distro system works, but it's hard for art house theaters in the US to succeed when people can watch all of the films in release on their T.V. at home for half the price. In some ways, this brings a much larger audience to indie films, people in bumblefuck Idaho, hundreds of miles away from any art house theaters who have no particular interest in indie film, are ordering films like We Need to Talk About Kevin On Demand based on the cast alone. That's good. But more and more, bigger fake indie labels like IFC and Magnolia and Relativity Media are developing monopolies in the realm of second and third tier film releasing which will eventually kill labels like Oscilioscope and Strand (is Kino still around at all?) . And yeah, some fake indie film like Moonrise Kingdom made by same hipster wanker auteur is undoubtly going to play all fucking summer long at the art house theaters here in Philly. Meanwhile, truly independent and exciting films like Take Shelter or Tyrannosaur or even the critically acclaimed A Seperation never made past a full week in release here. But really, what reason is there to go to the theater? A large screen? I have an HD projector purchased for $500 and a 120 inch screen bought for $80 and a surround sound bar that pumps out amazing audio for $90. I have a theater set up comparable to any art house theater for $700. It paid for itself in less than a year. And I can drink and smoke in my house. Seeing a film with an audience is a reason to go out to the theater? Having to deal with jerk off strangers who talk and text is a good experience? Until recently, people watched bad VHS tapes on some small crappy television. It's now affordable to build your own home theater now eliminating in any real reason to go to the theater. 35mm is dead, my blu ray player is just as good as the digital projector at the local indie theater. That's the main issue here, there's no reason for theaters to really exist, particularly art house theaters with small screens, uncomfortable seating, and crappy sound systems. I think that's a shame as it means indie film as a business is now dead, that's essentially become a non-profit endeavor, but that's the reality. I've gone broke just organizing one off screenings of foreign films in Philadelphia so I really sympathize with Adam. And J Wood sounds like a dick and to quote Haruki Murakami when he spoke in Irseal. "When an egg is thrown at an impenetrable wall, I will always side with the egg."

jasongJune 10, 2012 11:33 AM

J Wood -- interesting you mention your cinema's support for Asian films and then don't name any (unless we consider the one Turkish film you mentioned as being from Asia, I suppose). You also don't address the frankly hard-to-swallow % split between exhibitors and distributors. It's pretty tough in Japan at 50/50 (being the best case scenario, btw) in the first week sliding further in the exhib's favour as the film's run continues. But 75/25 is a kick in the nuts.
The margins for Asian films (on DVD) in the UK have always been tiny. Much respect to Adam for being a "loss leader" in the hope of promoting Asian cinema to a wider audience. It's still hard to know whether people who simply want to see interesting, good quality alternative fare are encouraged or discouraged by the "Asian" or "Japanese" tag. We may never find out.
On the bright side, I was glad to receive a press screening postcard today for Sono Sion's "Land of Hope" with Third Window Films' credit as co-producer.

RobertJune 10, 2012 3:00 PM

There are so many inaccuracies in both the original article and in the comments section afterwards, it's difficult to know where to begin.

Adam's letter:
Prometheus is NOT playing across all Curzon sites - it is playing at three out of six cinemas. Other films that are playing across the six cinemas are:
The Turin Horse
The Angel's Share
Sing Your Song
Woody Allen: A Documentary
Tales of the Night
Free Men
Goodbye First Love
Le Havre

So, if Prometheus is not your thing, there are several alternatives.

Moonrise Kingdom is NOT playing at nearly every other cinema in the UK - that is just not true. It's at nearly 80 cinemas in the UK at present.

The last Japanese film was Takeshis - again, not true. Renoir alone has played both 13 Assassins (an AE title, but Japanese nevertheless) and Ponyo (original Japanese language version) since then.

It has also played other Asian films since Takeshis:
Peepli Live
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Adam, I understand your frustration and your disappointment, but you should at least get your facts right before criticising.

The comments section:

Jason C Verney - you say that it's such a shame the way they're (Curzon) barely only independent any more.

These films have played at Renoir and/or Curzon Soho over the last few years:
The Island
The Headless Woman
Samson and Delilah
The Secret In Their Eyes
The Arbor
Police, Adjective
Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow
Of Gods and Men
Enter The Void (which struggled to get to any other cinemas in the UK)
Le Quattro Volte
A Separation
Sleeping Beauty
Take Shelter
Las Acacias
Two Years at Sea
The Turin Horse
as well as the four Jason has mentioned. Accepted that some of them belong to our own distribution company**, but many of them don't. I would be very interested to know your definition of 'independent'.

**The reason we buy these films is so they can be released in our own cinemas - it's not like we're buying Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or The King's Speech (though there's nothing at all wrong with those films).

Greg Christie
"That's the main issue here, there's no reason for theaters to really exist, particularly art house theaters with small screens, uncomfortable seating, and crappy sound systems". If that's the situation where you live, then that's a shame, but it's not necessarily the case in the UK (which is where the article is talking about).

It's a shame that you have to call somebody a dick with little knowledge of the situation - not to mention ‘bumblefuck Idaho’ and ‘hipster wanker auteur’ – why the disrespect? Can’t this be debated without the insults?

Some of the negative comments, both in the article and below, are unwarranted. I think, generally speaking, we’re all on the same side here - perhaps your ire would be better directed at cinemas that haven't even played Himizu (and films like the many listed).

ProjectionBoothCinemaJune 10, 2012 5:43 PM

The situation isn't very different here in Canada. "Independent" cinemas won't play films that aren't from major distributors, probably because they don't want to put in the time and effort to support the filmmakers and indie distributors. At Projection Booth, we spend considerable time and resources on promoting and supporting our titles and have so far resisted the temptation to just put Hollywood fare in. While the situation across this country remains dire, by proving there is an audience for these films we have seen a positive response from other Toronto cinemas - now if we could only all just get along in true "indie" spirit. Bottom line- there is no such thing as a film without an audience, and yes some titles do need time to build and grow, but cultivating that audience and curating those films should be the raison d'etre of indie cinema ownership.

Niels MatthijsJune 10, 2012 6:24 PM

A big problem for TWF is that while its films are part of the "arthouse" scene, they clearly don't match with A Separation, Tyrannosaur or The Turin Horse. Many of the Asian films TWF caters for are usually too playfull, not very sentimental nor typical arthouse poorporn. They are offbeat genrefilms which have a hard time finding distribution in Europe.

Robert Kenny: Seriously ... Ponyo (= Ghibli) AND 13 Assassions (= rather boring Miike) since Takeshis' (= 2005)? As a fan of Japanese cinema, how are we supposed to be happy with that? 10, 2012 7:25 PM

I was actually planning to go see Himizu at the ICA last friday but I decided to go this wednesday instead. This is sad to hear. I appreciate TWF's efforts and wish the company luck in the future. I'm not a huge fan of Sion Sono, Love Exposure was fun and hilarious but needlessly long. Cold Fish was pretty good but a bit crazy for me...Hopefully I'll enjoy Himizu though.

Hope to see more Asian films in UK cinemas.

RobertJune 10, 2012 7:36 PM

Takeshis played at Renoir in Feb 2010

jasongJune 10, 2012 10:55 PM

"Takeshis played at Renoir in Feb 2010". 2010? Sounds like there are other issues with Japanese cinema in the UK, then...

easternKicksJune 11, 2012 5:16 AM

The news that Third Window Films are suspending theatrical releases is obviously very sad indeed. Having spoken to Adam several times I know just how passionate he is about bringing Asian movies to the UK, though I wonder if he intended his letter to be reprinted in full (or if Twitch did him a service in doing so).

The debate around whether or not their is an audience is bound to rage on. Those of us interested in Asian film most of our lives will always maintain there is an audience, but have to accept that beyond big hitters like Crouching Tiger and The Raid it's going to be minimal. And both of those films benefited from having big (or at least reasonable-sized) distribution companies behind them.

With so many overheads to consider, I don't think either distribution companies nor cinemas can be blamed for picking a 'sure thing', but the effect limits exactly what we are exposed to – and the greater effect on just what films get made in the first place is easy to see.

(And to a greater extent, that's happening across the globe, not just in the UK.)

But like Adam, I do believe that audience exists. And I also believe that we have a responsibility to help expose UK audiences to work outside of Hollywood. It's a matter of finding that audience, and being realistic about how much we can reach.

Those of us who live in London and other major cities around the UK forget how lucky we are having cinemas like the BFI Southbank, Barbican, Genesis, Phoenix, etc, on our doorstep – even at their most commercial – when much of the country only has multiplexes.

Cinemas have been in a dire state since the recession of the 80s, and I remember that rolling into the 90s, as the multiplex truly came into being.

The saddest thing about this is that it will effect Adam's ability to bring these films to the UK in the first place, and that truly is a shame.

JasperJune 11, 2012 5:22 AM

Yeah Jason, but put it another way - do you think there is one single person in Japan who is doing for British cinema what Adam, me or numerous others are doing in the UK for Japan?
If we are honest, most Japanese cinema of recent years has not really been of a high enough standard to compete on its own terms on an international market. Yet it has attracted a unique cult niche that thinks everyone has a duty to go and see it.
To take the example of Takeshis, it's an extended in joke with no general appeal at all unless you know who Kitano is, and even then if you do, the joke is rather tired
On the other hand, a British film with the obvious commercial potential of The Woman in Black (it stars Harry Potter, for Christ's sake!) has not even been released in Japan.
Now, there are numerous reasons why the general public might not want to go and see Asian films, but you can't lay the blame entirely on exhibitors, who ultimately have their own overheads to worry about (although I will say, I personally won't go to any cinema that costs me over £10 to get in, so that rules out Picture House and Curzon I'm afraid).
I agree with Adam on some things - the percentage cut given to distributors, the exorbitant certification fees from the BBFC and the fact that power that a handful of very powerful 'art house' distributors have in programming most of the country's venues - these are worrying trends that make the UK market a lot more difficult than most.
But it is simply not true that foreign language films are being squeezed out of the market. I hear from a number of distributors that audiences have been up over the past few years for films like Dogtooth, Uncle Boonmee, Michael Hanneke's recent works.
And you have to remember that UK audiences are probably better served with Japanese films than most other countries.
Now if Japanese filmmakers would actually pull their fingers out of their asses and make something people want to see, like they used to back in the 50s and 60s...
(and on that note, I strongly recommend all Londoners head down to the BFI and catch as much of the Shindo and Yoshimura season as possible this month, because even publicly funded bodies such as this aren't going to go on playing films to empty auditoriums just because people online think they should) 11, 2012 6:53 AM

Adam Says - 'It was all done with a long-term goal of losing large amounts of money, but generating enough long term interest and audience that in the future East Asian cinema could easily find its way into cinemas in the UK like it used to.'

Although it's always sad news for any company to stop theatrically releasing films, I have little sympathy for such a naive business model. You can't set up any company with the 'long-term goal of losing large amounts of money.'

The problem seems to be in TWF's strategy of taking an old fashioned distribution model and applying it to very niche movies, then blaming exhibition and censorship bodies for the failure of these movies to engage audiences.

It seems that if TWF was more innovative in it's model then perhaps it could find both success and audience's not just in cinemas but on the many new digital platforms available, Curzon On Demand, MUBI, Filmflex, I-tunes, and Blinkbox to name a few.

I'm also wondering why Terracotta aren't making such melodramatic announcements?

Ard VijnJune 11, 2012 9:27 AM

Just for the record: I asked Adam for a quote on Thursday and he first sent me a letter very similar to this one. After reading it I told him that we would only publish it if we were DAMN sure that he was OK with having this published, and I asked him if he wanted some time to think it over and maybe re-edit the harsher bits. Adam agreed and after a few days he provided me with this final version.

In cases like these we try to make sure the writer doesn't feel shafted afterwards. We're not THAT hungry for news...

jasongJune 11, 2012 10:02 AM

Jasper, UK cinema isn't really seen as a genre (for lack of a better term) here the way French or Korean cinema is so it's hard to compare but UK imports generally come in 4th as far as number of releases, spread across different distributors such as Gaga, Klockworx, Showgate, Nikkatsu etc. It's not an amazing situation but certainly not the flip side of J-films in the UK. And of course I can't argue with how much people like yourself and Adam have done. IMO a film like Himizu stacks up against the strongest indie films coming out of any other "foreign film" territory, but it seems no matter how much you do unless it's a samurai film or something equally categorizable you will just not get walk-ins/one off patronage for a Japanese movie there unless it's in the context of a J-film fest or retrospective... Perhaps playing up the post-3.11 elements of Himizu in the ads much more might have helped garner interest?

easternKicksJune 11, 2012 11:18 AM

Thanks Ard. That's good to hear!


AugustoJune 13, 2012 8:14 AM

I've been "campaigning" against the BBFC costs - currently there is an e-petition requesting a flat fee / to stop their ridiculous double charges, etc: 14, 2012 9:23 AM

Good idea! One of the reasons we stopped releasing in the UK was the ridiculous BBFC charges. They have to be paid upfront, before release, and in the case of small, niche titles their fee could easily wipe out the profit from sales. And don't forget that this is a private company and a very rich one. 18, 2012 6:56 PM

I think it’s clear that nobody is happy about the situation that Adam and TWF finds itself in and the situation is certainly a complicated one. A few brief thoughts though:
- Without defending them, and whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, it is undeniable that the exhbition sector would be much worse off without The Prince Charles, Curzon, and Picturehouse chains.
- The ICA, which has a high-value location and significant public subsidy might have had the “time and effort to support the filmmakers and indie distributors” (which included the ICA distribution label) but that didn’t stop them nearly closing for good last year with millions of pounds of debts. That they have turned to Picturehouse to program the screens could be argued to be as a result of mis-management, but is ultimately a decision to remain open rather than close (and this ironically for one of the only venues in London actually showing Himizu).
- A better target for criticism might be the example of Rich Mix, which cost the taxpayer over £27 million to open, and even after 59% cuts is still receiving £300,000 annually from the Arts council (published figures for 2012 / 2013). Admittedly it puts on a range of cultural activities, although the main one is film, yet it is currently showing 3 screenings a day of Rock of Ages and forthcoming releases include the new Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises.
- That the cost for BBFC certification is more for Love Song compared to Rock of Ages when the BBFC’s expenses for both are comparable will simply continue to contribute to the dominance of Hollywood product.
- Only when significant steps are taken to change or redevelop the existing business model of theatrical distribution and exhibition will niche distribution and risk-taking exhibition become commercially sustainable.