No festival title to which Netflix and Amazon Studios have North American rights has been programmed at the 14-screen Scotiabank Theatre Toronto, a key festival venue, as either a press and industry or public screening this year.
Scotiabank Theatre Toronto is owned by Cineplex, Canada’s biggest exhibitor. In line with exhibition giants in the US including AMC, Cinemark and Regal, Cineplex is understood to have a policy of not playing films that do not adhere to Canada’s 90-day theatrical window.
The films entirely absent from Scotiabank screens are Netflix’s Marriage Story (pictured), The Two Popes, The Laundromat, Dolemite Is My Name, and Cannes acquisition Atlantics, along with Amazon Studios’ Seberg, The Aeronauts and Les Miserables, also a Cannes pick-up. The festival-going public can see the films at other venues, and press and industry can watch them at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
It is thought to be the first time an exhibitor’s position on theatrical windowing has had an impact on the scheduling of a major film festival.
Netflix’s Outlaw King starring Chris Pine and Amazon’s Cold War from Pawel Pawlikowski, among others, both screened at Scotiabank during TIFF last year.
A spokesperson for Cineplex said festival programming decisions were in the hands of TIFF. At time of writing TIFF had not responded to Screen’s request for a comment.