‘Brock: Over the Top.’

Kriv Stenders’ feature documentary on motor racing legend Peter Brock, Brock: Over the Top will start to roll out in cinemas on Thursday before its Premium VOD release on July 3.

The movie produced by WildBear Entertainment’s Veronica Fury and other PVOD releases such as Ben Lawrence’s Hearts and Bones and Alexs Stadermann’s animated feature 100% Wolf are benefiting from the willingness of some independent cinemas to screen films just before or while they are available on home entertainment.

This is a boon for the VOD platforms recently launched by Dendy Cinemas, the Ritz Cinema in Sydney and Melbourne’s Classic, Lido and Cameo Cinemas and the Golden Age Cinema.

However the usual 90-day theatrical window is expected to be reinstated when cinemas around the country are back in business, except for alternate content releases such as musical concerts and National Theatre Live.

Bonsai Films’ Jonathan Page, who is handling theatrical bookings for Brock: Over the Top for Universal Home Entertainment, tells IF: “With the pandemic anything goes for now, but we’ll get back to more normal releases soon.”

Stenders’ film, which combines rare archival material coupled with interviews with Brock’s family, his partners and closest colleagues, will screen at about a dozen locations including the Yatala drive-in in Queensland and Perth’s Galaxy drive-in.

The Classic, Lido and Cameo Cinemas in Melbourne will re-open on June 22, screening the Brock doc and other titles including Hearts and Bones, Kitty Green’s The Assistant and Maya Newell’s In My Blood it Runs, followed a week later by 100% Wolf. The Ritz in Sydney resumes on July 1.

Wallis Cinemas, which did not play any of the PVOD releases, will open its doors next week, initially with restricted sessions.

“We haven’t booked anything without the normal window,” says senior adviser Bob Parr. “No plans to at the moment, except for alternative content releases.”

The major chains plan to re-open their capital city cinemas on either June 25 or July 2. Hoyts Cinemas CEO Damian Keogh expects ticket sales will be limited by the lack of new Hollywood releases until Disney launches Mulan on July 23.

Last week, amid riots and protests in numerous US cities, Warner Bros. opted to postpone Christopher Nolan’s Tenet from July 16 to July 30.

Keogh, who expects capacity will be restricted to 50 per cent due to safe distancing rules, predicts: “I think it will be challenging for three months.”

Reading Cinemas resumed trading in Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia last Thursday, to be followed by Queensland this Thursday and Victoria on June 22; NSW is to be confirmed.

Village Cinemas are back online in Tasmania and will progressively open across the rest of the country from June 22 to July 2.

Madman Entertainment’s Paul Wiegard was delighted with the “healthy” PVOD business for Hearts and Bones and its release a month later on DVD and VOD platforms.

Wiegard was also pleased with the free, 10th anniversary interactive cast and filmmaker streaming of David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom, which had 10,000 views, the maximum allowed by the Zoom licence, and helped trigger a sale to the ABC.

Eddie Tamir, director of the Classic, Lido, Cameo and Ritz Cinemas, was pleasantly surprised at the uptake when tickets for the Melbourne locations went on sale last week.

Last week those cinemas’ At Home platforms hosted a PVOD screening of Jonathan Jakubowicz’s Resistance featuring a Q&A with Jesse Eisenberg, who stars as an aspiring mime artist who joins the French Resistance to save thousands of children orphaned at the hands of the Nazis.

Tamir is bullish about a slew of indie releases dated for July 2, including Madman’s The Booksellers, Transmission Films’ Bellbird, Limelight’s A Son and Rialto’s Bait and Love Sarah.

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