Isao Yukisada’s new romantic drama “Theatre: A Love Story” will drop worldwide on Amazon Prime Video and open theatrically in Japan on July 17. This sort of day-and-date double release is a rarity in Japan and a first for Amazon Prime Video in the country.
Based on the second book by Naoki Matayoshi, a comedian whose first novel “Hibana” was adapted as a Netflix series, the film stars Kento Yamazaki as an aspiring young playwright and director in the theater world and Mayu Matsuoka as a fashion student who loves him. With its original opening postponed due to the coronavirus, the film is now being released directly by its production company, Yoshimoto Kogyo, after initial distributors Shochiku and Aniplex passed the baton.
In a statement Yukisada explained that the film would open on 20 screens on Japan’s ‘mini theater’ or arthouse circuit. “A simultaneous theatrical release and streaming fulfils my hopes,” Yukisada said. “In the midst of this coronavirus crisis, it prioritizes delivering my film to more people. I want everyone to see my film ‘Theatre,’ into which I poured my heart and soul, be it in a theater or at home.”
With the state of national emergency ending throughout the country on May 25, cinemas have been cautiously reopening, but many of the films whose releases had been postponed are still in limbo as distributors and theater owners reset their schedules.