Short theatrical window for ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’

George MacKay in ‘True History of the Kelly Gang.’

Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang will open in Australian cinemas on January 9, just 17 days before its Australia Day premiere on Stan.

The short window and limited theatrical release were virtually inevitable after Stan announced the bushranger epic starring George MacKay, Russell Crowe, Nicholas Hoult and Essie Davis would premiere in summer as a Stan Original.

The major chains are determined to protect the traditional 90 day window and will not screen the film so distributor Transmission Films this week will start booking the title at the independent cinemas that are screening the Netflix productions The King, The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes and Amazon Studios’ The Report and Brittany Runs a Marathon.

The Netflix titles are screening at the Eddie Tamir family-owned Randwick Ritz Cinemas and Melbourne’s Lido, Classic and Cameo cinemas plus Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey’s Dendy Cinemas, Mike Walsh’s Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, Peter Souris’ New Farm Cinemas and The Elizabeth Picture Theatre in Brisbane and The Backlot in Perth.

Among the locations where Transmission launched Scott Z. Burns’ The Report, the political drama starring Adam Driver, Annette Bening and Jon Hamm last weekend are Palace, Dendy, Cinema Nova and United Cinemas Collaroy, before it starts streaming on November 29.

Today Stan also announced the Stan Originals The Commons will premiere on Christmas Day and The Gloaming on New Year’s Day. Earlier the Nine Entertainment-owned streamer announced season 2 of its original series The Other Guy will kick off the summer line-up on December 13, with all episodes streaming at once.

Also announced today is a partnership with the Sydney Opera House which will give Stan’s more than 1.7 million subscribers access to the venue’s digital programming.

Front-loading the summer is a shrewd move for Stan in the battle to maintain and grow subscribers in the face of competition from Disney+, which launches on November 19, and Apple TV+, which entered the market on November 1.

Transmission had planned a full-on theatrical release for Kurzel’s film, buoyed by generally positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, but scaled back after negotiating the deal with Stan.

Screens are always at a premium in January and Kelly Gang will face competition from Universal’s 1917, Sam Mendes’ First World War movie starring, ironically, MacKay and Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman; and Roadshow’s My Spy, an action comedy which follows Dave Bautista as a hardened CIA operative and his unlikely 9-year-old sidekick.

Produced by Porchlight Film’s Liz Watts, Daybreak Pictures’ Hal Vogel, Kurzel and Paul Ranford and adapted by Shaun Grant from the Peter Carey novel, the bushranger epic stars MacKay as Ned Kelly with Crowe as his accomplice Harry Power, Hoult as Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick, Charlie Hunnam as Sergeant O’Neil and Essie Davis as Ned’s mother Ellen. The cast includes Thomasin McKenzie, Earl Cave and Claudia Karvan.

Ryan Corr and Joanne Froggatt in ‘The Commons.’

All eight episodes of The Commons, a character-driven relationship drama produced by Playmaker Media and directed by Jeffrey Walker, Rowan Woods and Jennifer Leacey will drop on Christmas Day.

Created by Shelley Birse and co-written with Matt Ford, Michael Miller and Matt Cameron, the series is set in the near future when rising temperatures result in drought, dust storms and fires, overlaid with a story about motherhood and faith in humanity.

The cast is headed by Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt, Rupert Penry-Jones, Ryan Corr, David Lyons, Damon Herriman and Benedict Hardie.

Emma Booth and Ewen Leslie are play detectives and former lovers who investigate the brutal murder of an unidentified woman in The Gloaming, which was co-commissioned by Stan and Disney’s ABC Studios International.

‘The Gloaming.’

What begins as a routine investigation exposes political corruption, shady business dealings, sinister crimes and occult practices. Aaron Pedersen, Rena Owen, Matt Testro and newcomer Josephine Blazier round out the cast.

Sweet Potato Films’ Vicki Madden is the creator/showrunner, teaming up with Fiona McConaghy and 2 Jons’ John Molloy and Jon Adgemis on the eight-part drama directed by Michael Rymer, Greg McLean and Sian Davies. All eight eps will drop on New Year’s Day.

Madden says: “At its heart, The Gloaming is a ghost story. It’s about haunted characters in a haunted landscape. It is also an exploration of crime, lost romance and past regret. But more than anything it is an exploration of lingering grief.

“It is a story that I hope brings all the unsettling, yet compelling thrills of supernatural forces and strange mysteries to the fore, mixed with history, superstition, and ritual. We set out to build an uncanny world fused with the real and separated only by a thin veil between worlds. I call the space the gloaming.”

Directed by Gracie Otto, the six-part comedy The Other Guy 2 stars Matt Okine, Harriet Dyer, Valene Kane, Christiaan Van Vuuren, Lily Sullivan and Claudia Karvan.