Monday, November 28, 2011

Unfortunately, I'm Not a Very Patient Person...

...and patience is a thing I'll be needing over the next few months. As most of you know, I proudly hail from the lush green pastures of New Zealand, which has it's advantages (so much green, so much air, so much country-ness), but it comes with it's disadvantages. I'm thinking first-world problems here: our release dates are all out of whack. So let me expose this blasphemy towards our beautiful nation and the film-loving people (i.e. me) who live in it!

As we all know, awards season is coming soon. In America, Thanksgiving weekend brought along such films as The Artist, Hugo, The Muppets, My Week with Marilyn and A Dangerous Method - all movies which are apparently extremely deserving of awards attention. Yet, in NZ, our releases for the week were Arthur Christmas and Immortals - the former being on time and a possible awards contender, the latter a little late and not that hopeful. Those five movies that the lovely Americans enjoyed this weekend? Well, we get The Muppets on December 29th, Hugo on January 12th, The Artist on February 9th, My Week with Marilyn on March 8th and A Dangerous Method on April 26th. That's not all, though. Everyone else gets movies on DVD before we get them in cinemas. It happened with Hanna. And now it's happening with heavy awards contenders The Ides of March and Moneyball. Both of these titles are scheduled to come out on DVD in January. And while you enjoy them in your homes, I will be shooting off to the cinema and writing a review for a couple of films that you probably would have forgotten about, in February.

It seems that the awardsy type movies are taking the biggest hit. On one hand, we have Steven Spielberg's War Horse coming out on January 12th, three weeks after the Christmas release everywhere else. On the other end of the scale, we have Anton Yelchin/Felicity Jones tearjerker Like Crazy out on February 2nd, 14 weeks after America. J. Edgar is released on the same day, 12 weeks after America. Carnage comes out here on February 23rd, 10 weeks after America. Shame the same day, 12 weeks after America. Martha Marcy May Marlene has it's big release on March 15th, 21 weeks after America. 50/50, released in September in America, still hasn't been given a release date here. But that's not the worst of it: America got Warrior on September 9th. 25 weeks later on March 1st, we finally get to see it. See a pattern here?

These movies are all apparently very good, critically acclaimed movies. Yet, we don't get them on time. What we do get on time, however, are big blockbusters. Movies with release dates that coincide with America are: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I, New Year's Eve, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, This Means War, John Carter, The Hunger Games, Brave, The Amazing Spider-Man (we actually get that a week before America) and The Dark Knight Rises (thank goodness). Are we seeing more of pattern here?

I get it. Little movies like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Like Crazy aren't destined to make lots of money. Big movies like Breaking Dawn and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol are. But does that really mean that all some little, innocent movies should be shafted to fit the 'greedy money-grubbers'? And even the 'greedy money-grubbers' get denied good release dates. Puss in Boots is being released this week, after 6 weeks, Dolphin Tale doesn't come out until early next year, and we had to wait a fair few weeks to see Crazy, Stupid, Love. So really, it all comes down to this: why does New Zealand always get shafted when it comes to release dates? It's not like we've done anything wrong. We were the people behind Lord of the Rings. We made the Avatar's. Our scenery is often used because we're just such a beautiful place. We're not just that little country that's split into three islands, that has a lot of sheep and the 'funny' accent. We're just like anyone else.

My question is, why don't we all just have the same release dates? Surely it would just make life easier. Sure, having a couple weeks between us and America is understandable. But I really can't justify the 25 weeks it will take to get Warrior in cinemas here. We usually get our films at the same time as Australia, but even they got it months before us. Let's look at it this way: if people want to see movies and they can't, they will take to illegally download it. And illegal downloads lead to loss of money. Which is obviously not what the studios want. Trust me, I know people who unfortunately have downloaded films that aren't released here until as late as March next year.

You can tell me to just be patient, but I have seriously had enough. You can tell me that this is only a minor problem, but it's time that someone spoke out about it in some way (even if it's just a tiny blog post that no-one will take seriously). But why should we have to wait so long? I think it's utterly ridiculous.

As I said, first-world problems.


  1. You've hit the nail right on the head. I completely agree with this argument, and it needs to be read by the bigwigs who decide the release dates. They could learn a thing or two about how film loving Kiwis are suffering because of them. It's absolutely pathetic and inexcusable.

  2. I understand completely Stevee. I also have the same complaint, but at least you have all of the best movies coming at you. In my place, sometimes you don't have the clue. In the poster frame where there's a sign 'coming soon' usually means 'there's a possibility'. Movies like 'Warrior' or 'Immortals' came here very quick, but there's a lot of others that could be released (so) late.
    Maybe it took so long because there's a queue on the censorship department/film distribution. Well, yes, at least someone said something about this.

  3. I thin it's because of how the business works - they need to find distributor in the country to release the film in theatres, but the premieres sometimes are indeed scheduled insanely late. I thin it hurts the cinemas - I would love to see certain movies on big screen but since they are available in home media sooner than my coutnry has them in theatres I will chose the cheaper option. I'm sure if all the films had universal release they would earn a lot more money.

  4. I hate having to wait for a movie to come out when it's already out in other places. I had hoped to see Somewhere during the Xmas holidays but I ended up waiting more than a month to see it. Particularly as I'm hoping to create a perfect best-of-year list that and not miss anything.

  5. Move to America! (just kidding)

    That does suck though. I haven't even seen any of those films that just came out. If it makes you feel any better, I don't think My Week with Marilyn or A Dangerous Method (and I really want to see the latter) are playing anywhere near me, and Jacksonville - last time I checked anyway - is the largest city in Florida and the largest city in the U.S. (area wise).

  6. Strange thing is that we do get new releases before the rest of the world from time to time. There are several that I commented on this year ( Fast and Furious 5 for instance ) that were released here before the rest of the world.
    Personally it doesn't bother me. What annoys me more is when trailers to a film are played and then the film itself never arrives! Or posters are displayed and again the film never shows up. That annoys me more than release dates. The Adjustment Bureau went through that here in Napier for instance.
    I think to that with NZ we don't have the huge multi-plex cinemas of many overseas countries, so our cinemas can't cope with too many films all at once.
    I mean in napier 15 years ago we had one cinema with two screens. It had to close and we got a 4 screen cinema and yet it still can't cope with the sheer amount of films being released.

  7. The staggered release is a way for studio to save money on prints. They might wait for the theatrical run to be done in the US and then ship those same prints to foreign markets instead of making news ones that cost thousands each.

  8. Tyler - I know! It's so annoying :(

    Andina - We have the same never know what is coming out here until it's released in cinemas. Which is really annoying.

    Sati - Same here. I usually just wait for the DVD because I can get them for free, and at least they actually come out that way.

    Steven - That sucks! I won't be making a best-of-the-year list, as most of 'this years' movies come out here next year! Maybe in June I could probably make one.

    Robert - Haha, I'm thinking about it!
    That's shocking!

    Brent - Yes, we do. I think that happened with Thor and a couple of others.
    That happens all the time here! I remember seeing The Lincoln Lawyer's trailer before heaps of films and then it went straight to DVD. Which is stupid, because that's a great film.
    I don't know, we have some pretty big cinemas. Our one in Palmy has 8 screens, plus Cinema Gold which has 2.

    Castor - That makes sense! But it still sucks :(

  9. I always wondered why they did this too. But with digital cinemas becoming more widespread, I think release dates will start being closer together soon.

  10. It would see in the age where many films are distributed digitally that there's little to no need for these delays in dates. I'm sure someone, somewhere has a reason but I'm pretty sure it's not a good one.

  11. Bonjour Tristesse - Exactly. I think most of our major cinemas are digital now, so there's no excuse.

    James - Exactly what I think. Hopefully people start opening their eyes!


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