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Italy Set to Regulate Theatrical Windows Following Netflix Controversy

Italy is set to regulate its theatrical windows by law, following an uproar over the simultaneous release on Netflix and in theaters of local police-brutality drama “On My Skin.”

New rules announced by Italian Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli will enshrine in law, for Italian movies, the current gentleman’s agreement among distributors to wait 105 days after a film’s first theatrical screening before it can be released on other platforms, including TV and streaming.

But exceptions can be made for limited-release or under-performing Italian movies. The window will be reduced to 60 days for local films shown on fewer than 80 screens or for those that generate fewer than 50,000 admissions after 21 days in cinemas. The window is even shorter – 10 days – for Italian films screened only for three days.

The head of Italian motion picture association ANICA called the country’s upcoming new regulations “a good agreement between all sectors within the Italian cinema industry,” adding that “it balances protection of product in cinemas with the necessary innovations.”

In September, the simultaneous release on 80 screens by Italian distributor Lucky Red and on Netflix of “On My Skin,” a local police-brutality film that premiered in Venice, caused an uproar and prompted Lucky Red chief Andrea Occhipinti to resign as head of Italy’s distributors’ association.

Another Netflix title, “22 July” by Paul Greengrass, subsequently got a minuscule Italian release via Lucky Red-controlled art-house cinema chain Circuit Cinema. Though it was just two single screenings, it raised further alarm over the possibility that non-Italian releases could break the 105-day window agreement.

On Tuesday, Netflix dropped an Italian trailer for Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” which said the movie would be playing “On Netflix and in select cinemas” in the country. But neither Netflix nor any Italian distributors have disclosed how that release will happen.

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