×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA for Awarding Prizes to ‘Roma’

Tim Richards, the founder and chief executive of Vue International, one of the largest cinema chains in Europe, has slammed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for awarding prizes to Netflix’s “Roma.”

Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white film, which is also up for several Oscars, won four BAFTAs at the awards ceremony in London on Feb. 10.

In an open letter released Monday to BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry, Richards said that “BAFTA has not lived up to its usual high standards this year in choosing to endorse and promote a ‘made for TV’ film that audiences were unable to see on a big screen.”

He said that Netflix had made at best a “token effort” to screen “Roma” theatrically in Britain, “screening it to less than 1% of the U.K. market solely because it wanted an award.”

“How could BAFTA let this happen?” Richards asked in the letter.

Exhibitors throughout Europe have already expressed their opposition to the inclusion of Netflix films in competition at the continent’s most famous film festivals. Richards’ letter takes aim at an organization that gives out the most prestigious film awards outside the U.S.

A BAFTA spokesperson commented that the organization’s film committee “is satisfied that every film in contention” for this year’s awards “met the criteria for entry, which includes a meaningful U.K. theatrical release.”

In the letter, Richards said that “Netflix is well-known for its tactics and secrecy” and that its release strategy for “Roma” in the U.K. “was no exception.”

“It is still unclear whether ‘Roma’ was screened on more than the 13 Curzon Cinema screens representing less than 0.5% of the cinema market and for one week at the Filmhouse Edinburgh,” he said. “Not knowing how many people have seen ‘Roma,’ where it was screened or what level of box office it delivered is another example of how Netflix acts outside the industry whilst at the same time it craves its acceptance,” he wrote.

He urged BAFTA, the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and major film festivals to continue “to differentiate between a ‘made for TV’ movie and a first-run feature film with a full theatrical release, as they have for the last 100 years.”

The Vue chief also threatened to withdraw the company’s support of the BAFTA awards unless “it reconsiders its eligibility criteria.”

In what may amount to a possible olive branch, the BAFTA spokesperson said the organization reviews its criteria annually “in close consideration with the industry too ensure that our eligibility criteria remain fit for purpose.”

The issue of whether “Roma” should be allowed to play in movie theaters and simultaneously on the streaming giant has been a hot-button topic ever since the film world premiered at the Venice Film Festival last September. Italy’s exhibitors’ organization said they would not release the film on their screens last year. But “Roma” did get a tiny Italian release in a few independent non-member venues. On Tuesday, “Roma” was nominated in the foreign-language category for a David di Donatello Award, which is Italy’s equivalent of the BAFTAs.

 

 

More Film

  • 'Shazam!' Review: Zachary Levi is Pure

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D6-2160.cr2

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content