UK distributor Modern Films is to release The Perfect Candidate on select digital platforms following the closure of major cinema chains due to the spread of coronavirus.
Haifaa Al Mansour’s Saudi drama was scheduled to receive a UK theatrical release on March 27 on around 30 screens.
But that date will now see the rollout of the film on Curzon Home Cinema, the BFI Player – as the British Film Institute is supporting the film’s release through their Lottery-funded Audience Fund – and Modern Films’ own streaming service on modernfilms.com.
However, the plan is to make it available on these platforms for a “limited period” and revive it on the big screen when communal activity resumes.
The announcement comes the day after UK prime minister Boris Johnson advised people to avoid non-essential travel and public venues including theatres, which has led major cinema chains including Odeon and Cineworld to close their doors.
Modern Films managing director Eve Gabereau told Screen: “We had a lot of events planned around the release of The Perfect Candidate, including talks and Q&As. We hope to reschedule those and give the film a theatrical window in a few months, when we will take it off digital platforms, before giving it a full digital release later in the year.”
The distributor struck a slate deal with Amazon Prime Video last year, which included making The Perfect Candidate available to watch on the platform from October 1, 2020.
The film, which centres on a young Saudi doctor who becomes the first woman to run for office in her local city elections, first screened in competition at Venice and went on to play at Sundance.
Modern Films’ upcoming titles also include Werner Herzog’s Family Romance, which was due to receive a preview screening and Q&A with the director at the BFI Southbank tomorrow (March 18) ahead of its May 1 release in the UK. However, BFI Southbank has now closed its doors and Gabereau anticipates its UK release will be moved.
Modern Films also has Rubika Shah’s White Riot, which won best documentary at the BFI London Film Festival and was set to be released in early July and had partnerships with music festivals including Glastonbury. But the future of this summer’s music festivals remains uncertain and Gabereau said that its release may also have to be pushed back.
The move is in step with other distributors such as Universal, which announced it would release DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour available day-and-date on April 10 and make current releases including The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma available on-demand as early as Friday (March 20). Warner Bros.’ latest superhero film, Birds Of Prey, will also receive an early digital release from March 24.