“I am thrilled in the boldness and daring by Stan to embrace our ambitious film,” said producer/director Justin Kurzel in a statement. “For Australians to see our take on Peter Carey’s extraordinary book in cinemas and on Stan over the summer is very exciting. I hope as many eyes as possible get the opportunity to see a film the makers are deeply proud of.”
“True History of the Kelly Gang is a remarkable and often surprising film, with enthralling performances expertly captured by Kurzel. After the stellar TIFF world premiere, I’m really looking forward to Australians being able to enjoy this home-grown story,” added Screen Australia’s CEO Graeme Mason, a true believer in digital distribution of Australian content.
“The story of Ned Kelly has become a quintessential part of Australian culture and Justin’s ambitious new take, combined with a standout cast of award-winning Australian and international performers, is guaranteed to get people talking,” said Stan’s Chief Content Officer, Nick Forward.
To these three, plus many consumers, this announcement is an exciting innovation, and a further reason to support homegrown streamer Stan, however, we can almost feel the cinemas crushing their coffee cups as they read this announcement.
The news that one of Australia’s most anticipated films of 2020 will not be released with the traditional 90-120 day window before hitting digital distribution or streaming, comes hot on the heels of Netflix looking to release 4 of their films – The Irishman, The Two Popes, The King and Marriage Story – in cinemas and within weeks on the titan streaming platform. Netflix’s strategy is a mix of satisfying the respective filmmakers’ desire to have their films available for audiences to see on the big screen, qualifying for prestigious awards and elevating awareness. With Stan, it is likely the latter, and mostly about Stan. In both cases, most cinemas will refuse to play the films.
Does anyone remember 2018’s The Second? We didn’t think so. That film was released on Stan and in cinemas concurrently, but admittedly Kelly is a much bigger fish. But still not a big enough catch that major chains such as Event, Hoyts, Village, and Reading, along with indies such as Wallis and Palace, will be playing the film in their cinemas.
So, even though this is exciting news for the consumer, don’t expect to see True History of the Kelly Gang breaking any box office records next year. On the flipside, more people will have seen it than the #1 Australian cinema box office earner for 2019/2020. Whether they sat through the whole film glued to one screen is another matter altogether.