Netflix, Amazon’s TIFF films barred from Cineplex theatre

The company placed restrictions for this year's festival, stating it would only screen films from studios that "appreciate the importance of the theatrical release model."

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Cineplex has set a clear stance on Netflix and Amazon’s theatrical distribution model during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

All eight Netflix titles, as well as four Amazon Studios titles, are ineligible to screen at Cineplex’s Scotiabank Theatre, which is one of the major venues of the festival.

The discrepancy was first noted by Globe and Mail deputy arts and film editor Barry Hertz on Twitter, and it was soon after confirmed by TIFF. “Cineplex has been a great partner of TIFF’s for many years. This year, new restrictions were put in place on our use of their Scotiabank Theatres during the Festival. As a result, TIFF scheduled films that do not comply with their traditional theatrical windows in other venues,” said a festival spokesperson in a statement.

In a statement provided to Playback Daily, Cineplex said: “There are hundreds of fantastic films screening as part of this year’s festival and with all those options we asked that our screens feature titles from studios who understand and appreciate the importance of the theatrical release model.”

In a response to Playback Daily‘s request for comment, Netflix referred to TIFF’s provided statement. Amazon Studios did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

Cineplex has screened Netflix titles in previous years, including the documentary Quincy and Paul Greengrass’ 22 July. Netflix films at TIFF this year include Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat, Craig Brewer’s Dolemite is my Name and Kenny Leon’s American Son. Amazon films include Scott Z. Burns’ The Report and Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy. Screenings for Netflix and Amazon titles have been scheduled at venues such as the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Princess of Wales Theatre, as well as the Elgin and Winter Garden theatres.

In August, Netflix announced they would provide a three-and-a-half week limited theatrical window, rather than the traditional 90-day window, for its upcoming Martin Scorsese film The Irishman. As of now it is uncertain whether theatre chains will play the film or how many theatres will agree to the shortened window.

The ban has not affected films by Bell Media streaming service Crave. Two of its originals screening at the festival are TIFF opener Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band and special event premiere David Foster: Off the Record. Both documentaries are set for theatrical release before they land on Crave.

TIFF runs from Sept. 5 to 15.