×

Netflix, Mexico’s Cinepolis Face Off Over Release of ‘Roma’

In a face-off between the world’s biggest streaming platform and second-biggest cinema theater owner, Mexico’s Cinepolis has called on Netflix to respect traditional theatrical windows for the release of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” in Mexican cinemas.

If the U.S. streaming giant agrees to push back its Dec. 14 release of “Roma” online, Cinepolis said it would release the film in its theaters next week and donate 50% of grosses to causes related to domestic service in Mexico. But if Netflix does not comply, Cinepolis will not screen the film, it said in a statement Thursday.

The standoff comes days after Matt Brodlie, director of acquisitions for Netflix, publicly offered “Roma” to both Cinepolis and Mexican exhibition chain Cinemex for release across their theaters in Mexico. In an open letter to the media, Brodlie said that an “important part” of cinema grosses would be given to nonprofit organizations.

Cuarón’s Oscar hopeful opened Wednesday on select screens in Mexico, his home country, where the movie is set. The film is said to be appearing on just 40 screens there, which, Cuarón noted, is fewer than in Poland or South Korea. (The news has also emerged that “Roma” will be shown on about 50 screens in Italy next month.)

Popular on Variety

Cuarón tweeted Thursday that 27 additional cinemas in Mexico would screen “Roma” from Dec. 6. It is unclear, however, whether that would raise the total screen count. The director also hit back at suggestions that he was insisting “Roma” could only play at theaters with top-notch facilities. Though “the ideal way to see ‘Roma’ is in 4K Atmos sound projection, we’re exhibiting the film in 2K, 5.1 sound cinemas,” he said.

Cuarón also told influential newspaper “El Universal” that he hoped some kind of deal might be reached with Cinepolis, whose head, Alejandro Ramírez, is a close friend. Cinepolis is a powerful bastion of Mexican cinema, backing the Morelia Film Festival and distributing and now producing multiple Mexican movies of artistic ambition and social relevance, such as Alfonso Ruizpalacios’ “Museo” with Gael García Bernal.

“Nothing would please us more than to exhibit Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma,’” Cinepolis’ Claudio Tomasini tweeted Thursday. But he insisted that Netflix respect the traditional theater-to-pay-TV window of 90 days, which would mean making the movie available online in Mexico in February. If so, Cinepolis would release “Roma” theatrically next Thursday.

Such a long hold-back of the film’s release online is unlikely. “Cinemex and Cinepolis wanted too big a window,” Cuarón told El Universal. “I can understand that. It reflects their business model.” But, he argued, release models for movies are changing.

“Just a few more than 40 screens will exhibit the great ‘Roma’ in cinemas,” actor Diego Luna tweeted Friday. “If you have the chance, go and see it in a cinema. It’s a must-see. I hope you find a theater near you. And if not, catch it on Netflix.”

More Film

  • Father

    'Father': Film Review

    “Father” begins with a mother. Dragging her two sullen, uncomprehending kids along with her, Biljana (Nada Šargin) strides onto the grounds of the factory from which her husband was let go more than a year before and harangues the foreman about the severance package they still have not received. The children are hungry, she wails, [...]

  • Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm

    'Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street': Film Review

    In 1985, New Line rushed out a sequel to its breakout horror hit of the prior year. But while commercially successful enough, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” was initially disliked by mainstream horror fans, then later won cult status, for the same reason: It struck many as “the gayest horror film of [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    HBO Seeks Dismissal of Michael Jackson Estate's Suit Over 'Leaving Neverland'

    HBO urged an appeals court on Friday to throw out litigation brought by the Michael Jackson estate over the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland.” HBO and the Jackson estate have been locked in a legal war ever since the premium cable network agreed to run the documentary, which chronicles child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson. The [...]

  • Denzel Washington

    Film News Roundup: Denzel Washington-Rami Malek Thriller Set for Early 2021 Release

    In today’s film news roundup, a Denzel Washington-Rami Malek thriller gets a release date, “Escape Room 2” gets moved, Paramount sets a double feature, “So Cold the River” wraps and the Sonoma Film Festival unveils its lineup. RELEASE DATES Warner Bros. has set the Denzel Washington-Rami Malek police thriller “The Little Things” for a Jan. 29, [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Writers Guild Says It Helped Negotiate 100 Deals for Agent-Less Members

    The Writers Guild of America has asserted that it has assisted in negotiating more than 100 deals in recent months for members without agents. The missive from the WGA West board of directors comes nearly a year after the guild leaders ordered their 15,000 members to fire their agents if the agents had not agreed [...]

  • the jesus rolls

    Émilie Simon Contributes Flamenco/Gypsy Vibe to John Turturro's ‘The Jesus Rolls’

    For French musician Émilie Simon, the flamenco-meets-gypsy vibe writer-director John Turturro was seeking for the soundtrack to his movie “The Jesus Rolls” turned out to be in her musical and genetical DNA. “This music originally comes from where I grew up in the south of France,” says the 41-year-old electronic musician, who has released five [...]

  • My Hero Academia Heroes Rising

    'My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising' ADR Director on Adapting the Anime for a U.S. Audience

    “My Hero Academia” has officially Detroit Smashed into North American theaters. Sony Pictures Television’s Funimation released “Heroes Rising” in the U.S. on Wednesday, grossing $2.5 million on its opening day. Theaters are showing the film, a standalone entry in the popular superhero anime based on the manga, with options for either subtitles or with an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content