Transmission Set as Amazon’s Theatrical Distributor in Australia, New Zealand

Simon Mein/Courtesy of Cornerstone Films

Australia’s Transmission Films has been set as the exclusive theatrical distributor of Amazon Studios’ movies in Australia and New Zealand.

The deal covers Amazon Studios’ acquisition and production titles. They include Mike Leigh’s anticipated historical drama “Peterloo,” and Tom Harper’s romantic epic “The Aeronauts,” starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.

“(Amazon Studios) taste in quality, commercial cinema and respect for the theatrical window makes Amazon the perfect partner,” said Transmission joint managing directors Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie.

Transmission’s emphasis on respect for theatrical scheduling is telling. Only a few years ago, Australian distributors and exhibitors were regularly accused of inciting the use of piracy through the long holdback of many titles which had already been released in other territories, and through the poor availability of streaming video services.

In the last couple of years, however, the market has changed rapidly as streaming services Netflix and Stan have enjoyed strong success – causing problems for linear TV and pay-TV operators. Releasing delays have shrunk. In some instances, delays have been eliminated, as original productions backed by Netflix have skipped theatrical completely, and gone straight to online distribution.

Australian traditionally has one of the world’s highest per capita cinema attendance rates. But in 2017 theatrical box office shrank for the second year in succession.

Transmission handled the top Australian film of the year, “Lion,” which grossed US$23.6 million (A$29.5 million). The company’s upcoming releases include “Lion” director Garth Davis’ “Mary Magdalene,” “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” “Lean on Pete,” “On Chesil Beach,” “Colette,” and Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying” from Amazon.