App for Samsung Smart TVs launches; day-and-date offerings include Into The Abyss and Le Havre [pictured].

UK distributor Curzon today unveiled a preview of its new Curzon On Demand app for Samsung Smart TVs, which is launching this month. This will enable the 250+ titles service to be accessed directly by Samsung Smart TV owners.

This app’s launch comes as CEO of Curzon Artificial Eye Philip Knatchbull confirmed plans that the Curzon brand would seek to boost the number of films it launches simultaneously in cinemas and on its online platform.

Curzon On Demand, which soft launched a year ago, is now offering the first titles through its “In Cinemas, On Curzon” offering, which offers films on demand simultaneously with their theatrical launch. Titles available through this scheme currently are Werner Herzog’s Into The Abyss (a Revolver title) and from Friday April 6, Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre (from Curzon sister distribution company Artificial Eye). Others that will launch simultaneously are Aleksander Sukorov’s Faust on May 11 and Bouli Lanners’ The Giants (Les Geants) on May 25.

It is notable that the service is not just concentrating on its own properties in terms of exhibition and distribution. From the exhibition side, there are some titles that are being launched at exhibitors in addition to Curzon, such as Picturehouse (which is also showing Into The Abyss and Le Havre). The major chains such as Odeon and Cineworld however aren’t as yet allowing any titles on-demand simultaneously.

From the distribution side, the titles on offer aren’t just from Artificial Eye. Distributors on board include Revolver, Metrodome, Momentum, Soda Pictures, New Wave, BFI, Verve, Park Circus, Picturehouse and Vertigo with others in talks. Curzon On Demand doesn’t do library deals with distributors, instead selecting project-by-project the films it wants on its curated service. Curzon On Demand offers HD-quality streaming (depending on Internet connection) of its more than 250 titles, to be seen on computers, laptops, iPads, smartphones and smart TVs.

As such, one of the company’s new mottos is “cinema whenever and wherever you choose”.

“At the moment, Curzon is quite well known in London,” Knatchbull said, revisiting themes of his recent speech at the BSAC conference. “We want and we need to become a UK-wide brand.”

Knatchbull added: “What I’m advocating is a complete paradigm shift in the way customers can come to film.” He added that he didn’t expect change to happen overnight – “in next four to five years” he said change will come. “We will need the support of all the film distributors,” he noted. “We hope they will increasingly allow us to release films simultaneously on demand and in cinemas. As we are also a distributor, we can choose [how our films are launched.]”

That launch day-and-date with cinemas is one of the key selling points of the service, compared to powerful rivals such as Lovefilm or new UK entrant Netflix. “I think that sets us out very differently,” he noted.

He also said that there are plans to expand the physical Curzon cinema sites from the current 9 to 50. And to have the on-demand experience available “on 15 different platforms.” Capablue built the Samsung app and will also work with Curzon to develop future apps, including one for the iPad.

“As a niche, premium brand we are associated already as a company that’s curating a high-quality selection of independent cinema. We’re not going to have 20,000 films on our service, we’re going to have about 300,” he said.

New titles include Michael, We Need To Talk About Kevin, 13 Assassins, The Deep Blue Sea, Corpo Celeste, and Wuthering Heights with other diverse titles on offer such as Gareth Edwards’ Monsters, Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book, Claire Denis’ White Material, and Abbas Kiarostami’s A Taste Of Cherry.

Prices start at £2 for a library title to £6 for a new release [that price will later increase to £10], with reduced fees for Curzon members. Once purchased, a film is available for seven days.

The Curzon On Demand platform has backing from the EU’s MEDIA programme.

More on the service here.