Pinocchio to be released directly on Amazon Prime Video in France
- Originally scheduled for French cinema release on 18 March via Le Pacte, the film by Italy’s Matteo Garrone will now be available on the streaming platform from 4 May
After Ballsy Girl [+see also:
film profile] by Katia Lewkowicz, which was supposed to be released on 15 April, Matteo Garrone’s Pinocchio [+see also:
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile] is the second film to lose out on a French cinema release (originally planned for 18 March) as a result of the health crisis, and is now foregoing a future big screen release in France in light of the cold, hard cash Amazon Prime Video is putting forward. Indeed, the American platform has acquired the exclusive SVOD rights for France in relation to the feature film and will make it available as of 4 May.
Released in Italian cinemas on 19 December last year, Pinocchio was screened out of competition in Berlin in February and earned 15 nominations at the 2020 David di Donatello Awards (the annual Italian film prizes, set to be awarded on 8 May). Usually a strong advocate of movie theatres, Jean Labadie, the head of Parisian firm Le Pacte which co-produced Pinocchio and held distribution rights for the film in France, explained his decision to sell these rights to Amazon Prime Video in a statement made to Boxofficepro.fr: "we’ve already spent 700,000 euros on editing costs and given the uncertainty surrounding the reopening of cinemas this summer, we couldn’t wait until the last trimester and then have to invest the same amount again, during a highly competitive period". Moreover, he added, "we’re experiencing high levels of piracy on all our films, whereas the VOD market, despite a recovery, is still too small to be a threat."
It’s true that the French authorities have just pushed back the next committee to decide whether (or not) to re-open French cinemas to 2 June. The National Federation of Cinema Operators (FNCF) is asking, furthermore, that four weeks’ notice be given before any eventual re-opening takes place, to allow for the organisation of an effective communications campaign which will give the audience some kind of encouragement to return to movie theatres, and for the implementation of sanitary measures which will inevitably be expected in the initial post-lockdown period. The prospect of recovery was also touched upon by Jean Labadie (who still has a rich line-up of potential cinema releases for the second half of 2020): "I hope that the CNC will have the financial power to help us if we decide to release films this summer, as any market recovery might have to take place under challenging conditions."
The decision Le Pacte has made over Pinocchio is symbolic of the financial vice which French independent distributors are currently contending with, and which is pushing them into the arms of American SVOD platforms: the common-sense option. These are only very isolated cases, for now, but they do open up a new realm of possibilities. In fact, it would seem a number of French producers are now insisting that those selling their films take offers made by VOD and SVOD actors very seriously. To be continued…
(Translated from French)
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