'Julia' simultaneously in theatres and PPV

Sky TV, Chelsea Films team for joint release

LONDON -- Sky Television and U.K. production banner Chelsea Films, part of the exhibition and distribution company Curzon Artificial Eye Group, have pacted to release the Tilda Swinton-starrer "Julia" in theaters and on Sky's pay-per-view service simultaneously.

The deal marks the first English language release to break the historical release window pattern and go into theaters on the same night as being available on pay television.

Sky previously partnered with Curzon Artificial Eye in February this year to do the same for Fatih Akin's "The Edge of Heaven."

According to Sky it was deemed a huge success. It means smaller, niche titles benefit from a bigger marketing spend with Sky on board than they might otherwise enjoy, Sky claims.

Directed by Erick Zonca and Camille Natta, "Julia" will rollout theatrically in five Curzon Cinema sites and eight City Screen sites as well as other regional sites in December.

At the same time it will be made available to nine million Sky subscribers on the same day via Sky Box Office (SBO) in both HD and standard definition, as well as on transactional VOD via Sky Player for computer users. The title will be available on Sky for a limited time only, priced at 9.99 pounds ($17) on both TV and PC, the parties said.

Sky Movies director Ian Lewis said that releasing the film on Sky Box Office at the same time as in cinemas "makes the film instantly available to millions of film lovers in every corner of the U.K., often hundreds of miles away from its nearest theatrical exhibition."

Curzon Artificial Eye CEO Philip Knatchbull added that the group's previous experience with "Edge of Heaven" did not have a marked effect on cinema admissions.

"In fact it fulfilled a previously unrealized appetite for Independent films amongst a wider public," Knatchbull said.