New expanded Oscars rules and theatrical requirements for Best Picture

The Academy’s Board of Governors has approved new theatrical release requirements to be eligible for the Best Picture Oscar from the 2025 ceremony.

In addition to the week-long qualifying race in one of six US markets, starting with films released in 2024, a film must meet additional areas regarding its theatrical release to be nominated and win the best statuette. highly coveted.

They understand:

  • Extended theatrical release of seven days, consecutive or not, in 10 of the 50 major US markets, no later than 45 days after the initial release in 2024.
  • For year-end films with expansions after January 10, 2025, distributors must submit release plans to the Academy for review.
  • Year-end film release plans must include an anticipated expanded theatrical release, as described above, to be completed no later than January 24, 2025.
  • Releases to non-US territory can count for two of the 10 markets.
  • Eligible non-US markets include the top 15 international film markets as well as the film’s home territory.

These standards were the result of numerous conversations with distributors of various sizes, in addition to the study of historical data. The Academy has expressed its belief that a healthy theatrical environment is essential to Hollywood’s success.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oscars temporarily suspended eligibility rules for theatrical releases due to closures.

These changes do not affect any films competing in calendar year 2023 and will not take effect until January 1. As with all rules and changes, the board evaluates and meets annually to discuss any practical changes to its eligibility and processes.

To be clear, this is only for movies to qualify for the best picture category. Films will be eligible in various categories, such as Directing, Acting, and Technical Achievement, without meeting this standard. It’s the same rule regarding films and studios that fail to meet diversity and inclusion standards in their first year of effect.

In a joint statement, Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang said, “As we do every year, we have reviewed and assessed our eligibility criteria for the Oscars. . In support of our mission to celebrate and honor the arts and sciences of filmmaking, we hope this expanded theatrical footprint will increase the visibility of films worldwide and encourage audiences to experience our art form in a theatrical setting. Based on numerous conversations with industry partners, we believe this development benefits artists and moviegoers.

This change will likely affect streamers like Apple TV+, which became the first to win Best Photo Statuette with “CODA” (2021). Apple, Netflix, and Amazon generally haven’t released extended versions for their awards contenders.

Last year, Netflix’s sequel “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” reportedly grossed $12-13 million from around 700 theaters over Thanksgiving weekend (Netflix doesn’t report any official gross numbers for its films) . The streamer’s widest theatrical release involved top-tier chains like AMC and Regal. And despite his impressive numbers for Rian Johnson’s thriller, he was pulled after a week.

Earlier this year, Amazon Studios took the unprecedented step of bringing Ben Affleck’s drama “Air” to a national release on more than 3,500 screens. Apple has already partnered with Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures to handle the theatrical releases of two upcoming contenders – Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” starring Joaquin Phoenix.

Streamers must have seen this move coming, as in March Apple announced a $1 billion per year investment in targeted theatrical films, and Amazon committed to 12-15 theatrical releases per year.

The industry also needs to watch how it affects arthouse studios such as Sony Pictures Classics, Searchlight Pictures, IFC, Neon and reigning Best Picture Champion A24 (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) . Engaging in 10 of the top 50 U.S. markets could affect their bottom line, especially with box office numbers still trying to put many in the dark.

The change, like everything announced recently, will have fierce supporters and vocal critics. Actor Richard Dreyfuss spoke about the demands of Aperture 2024 and “being told he can’t play a black man.”

We suspect the Academy wants what every movie buff wants… just to keep (and save) the movies.

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