- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Flipboard
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Tumblr
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
The German film industry has agreed to a landmark deal to shorten the theatrical windows for local releases, allowing movies backed by national subsidies to go online sooner after their initial run in cinemas.
The deal, announced Tuesday, will shorten Germany’s theatrical window from six to four months. The new window will apply to films that receive support from the German Federal Film Board (FFA), but not U.S. studio films, which are free to set their own rollout schedules. The window for a U.S. release, the time between a movie’s theatrical bow and its release on home entertainment, is often closer to 45-50 days in Germany, though bigger blockbusters tend to have longer release windows.
But the new deal is significant as most German films and co-productions receive FFA support and are required to abide by their release dictates. Traditionally, this has meant a strict theatrical release window, even as the theatrical audience for many German productions has shrunk dramatically.
The COVID pandemic and resulting theater closures put pressure on the German industry to shorten its windows and make the entire release system more flexible. The new agreement replaces the bespoke arrangement that emerged during the pandemic, where distributors could apply for special permission to release films online earlier.
All the major stakeholders in the German film industry, including exhibitor groups HDF Cinema and the AG Kino-Gilde, the MPA and the alliance of German film and TV producers, documentary filmmakers association AG Dok, and German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, agreed to the new regulations.
Within the German industry, the deal is being heralded as an example of successful compromise — in contrast to the Hollywood writers’ strike — and is an encouraging sign for ongoing negotiations to reform Germany’s system of film financing.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day