Rialto Distribution is the first independent to take advantage of the earlier release window, a concession which until now had been restricted to the US majors.

Rialto released director David Robert Mitchell’s US supernatural horror/thriller It Follows on VOD and DVD on July 16, 90 days after its theatrical premiere.

The saga of a teenager who finds herself plagued by disturbing visions and the sense that something is following her after a sexual encounter, it grossed $278,000 after being launched on eight screens in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“We have to look at different ways of releasing films. If we had gone wide with It Follows it would have only lasted a couple of weeks,” Rialto general manager Mike Vile tells IF. 

Palace and several other exhibitors agreed to book the film knowing it would have a shorter window but the major chains declined. 

“We had to adjust the terms but it made sense to release the film on home entertainment the day after it went out on VOD and DVD in the US,” he says. “We would do it again, for the right film.”

Transmission Films negotiated for one-month windows for Slow West and Strangerland after their Sydney Film Festival premieres but both were classified as mini-festival releases and, like alternate content, fell outside the usual 120-day holdback.  

The major chains’ two-year agreement with the major distributors, which provides for a 90-day window for three titles per distributor per year, expires at the end of this year.

The major and independent distributors and Australian producers are pushing for more flexible windows for 2016, at least for the smaller indie films.

Vile doubts there will be a radical overhaul of windows next year, predicting, “l think we will see piecemeal changes.”

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