The Oscars best picture rules are changing. Here’s how it’ll affect contenders and movie theaters

June 23, 2023  -The theatrical requirements for movies vying for the Oscars top prize are getting a little tougher.

Starting with the 97th Academy Awards in 2025, best picture hopefuls will have to spend more time in theaters to qualify for film’s top prize. The changes, announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this week, come after three years of adjusted release standards due to the pandemic.

On top of the current one week “qualifying run” in one of six U.S cities — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco or Miami — best picture contenders would now must also now play for an additional seven days in 10 of the top 50 U.S. markets. Additionally, there’s several other new rules about when the movies must play in theaters.

“It is our hope that this expanded theatrical footprint will increase the visibility of films worldwide and encourage audiences to experience our art form in a theatrical setting,” Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang said in a statement.

It’s part gesture to theaters still struggling from the pandemic, partly for audiences in markets outside of New York and Los Angeles who don’t always get theatrical access to best picture contenders, and partly a statement to deep pocketed streaming services that theaters remain paramount for Hollywood’s top prize.

The film academy’s leaders also say the decision was born out of many conversations with industry partners and that they feel that this “evolution benefits film artists and movie lovers alike.”

But some in the industry questioned what it really changes, who it benefits and who it might hurt.

Michael O’Leary, the President and CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners, applauded the “important initiative.” In a statement, O’Leary said it “affirms that theatrical exhibition is the keystone of the industry.”

For traditional studios, from the big ones like Warner Bros., Universal and Disney, to the smaller players, like A24 and Neon, behind recent best picture winners “ Everything Everywhere All At Once ” and “Parasite,” it likely affects very little.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *