Widening windows

Italo film orgs move on homevid dates

Italy’s main movie industry orgs agreed Monday to open up the window between a film’s theatrical and homevi-deo releases from 12 to 15 weeks but stopped short of making the decision binding.

Agreement follows a furor sparked earlier this month when Universal announced it would release “Miami Vice” on homevid in Italy on Dec. 6, just eight weeks after the Michael Mann pic opened and while it was still playing on local screens. Fierce protests forced U to reverse its decision and respect the “gentleman’s agreement” on the 12-week window.

A window of less than three months is “simply unacceptable,” UIP Italy topper Richard Borg warned at the time.

Motion picture body Anica, exhib org Anec and multiplex rep Anem said in a statement that they “shared a wish for a 15-week window” but added, significantly, that the agreement is open to flexibility “for specific cases.”

While the agreement will placate players temporarily, it won’t end the practice of hasty homevid releases because it lacks sanctions for infrac-tions.

Anec topper Paolo Protti warned that he intended to urge legislative intervention to enforce the window as Italy’s box office continues to soften.

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