In snub of Netflix, AMC and Regal cinemas won’t show ‘Roma’ as part of Oscars showcases

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Two of the largest cinema chains in the U.S. won’t show Netflix’s “Roma” as part of their annual best-picture Oscars showcases, in a further sign that chilly relations haven’t thawed between major exhibitors and the streaming entertainment company.

Neither AMC Theatres nor Regal has exhibited “Roma” prior to Tuesday’s announcement of the Academy Award nominations. The theater chains have cited Netflix’s windowing strategy for the movie, which involved a three-week limited theatrical run prior to its streaming debut.

“Roma” received 10 Academy Award nominations, including a nod for best picture. It is the first time that a Netflix movie has been nominated for Oscar’s top prize.


FULL COVERAGE: 2019 Oscar nominations »

But Leawood, Kan.-based AMC said that “Roma” won’t be part of its annual AMC Best Picture Showcase, a two-day event starting Feb. 16 at participating AMC cinemas around the country.

“For more than a decade, movie lovers have enjoyed the AMC Best Picture Showcase to catch up on the nominated films that played at AMC throughout the prior year,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “This year, Academy members nominated a film that was never licensed to AMC to play in our theatres. As such, it is not included in the AMC Best Picture Showcase.”

Regal Entertainment Group said in a separate announcement that its annual Best Picture Film Festival won’t include “Roma.”

“The Regal Best Picture Film Festival showcases the Best Picture nominees that played in our theatres in 2018. For that reason, ‘Roma,’ a movie predominantly shown on TV, will not be included in our festival,” the company said in a statement. The festival is set to run Feb. 15-24 at Regal cinemas.

Knoxville, Tenn.-based Regal operates 558 theaters nationwide, while AMC runs 639 theaters.


Netflix declined to comment. The Los Gatos, Calif., company made the unprecedented decision to open “Roma” in a handful of cinemas for three weeks before making the Alfonso Cuaron movie available on its streaming platform Dec. 14.

It later expanded the movie’s theatrical footprint to more than 100 theaters in the U.S. and more than 500 internationally. In the U.S., cinema chains showing “Roma” include the Landmark Theatres and the Laemmle Theatres, as well as smaller arthouses.

In the past, when Netflix has released a movie in theaters, it has made the title available simultaneously on its streaming service. But the critical acclaim that has followed “Roma” since its debut at the Venice Film Festival last year, where it won the top prize, prompted the company to break with its long-standing rule.

Cinemas have traditionally expected at least a 90-day window between a movie’s theatrical release and its streaming or home video debut. While competitor Amazon Studios has upheld this practice, giving its movies a traditional theatrical release, Netflix has upended the traditional model, seeking to collapse or eliminate the window altogether.

“Roma,” which was financed by Participant Media, also faced resistance from some major Mexican cinemas, including Cinepolis, the country’s largest chain.

The black-and-white, Spanish-language drama tells the story of a maid (Oscar nominee Yalitza Aparicio) who works for an upper middle class family in Mexico City’s Roma district.


It remains unclear if Cinemark will show “Roma” as part of its annual Oscar Movie Week, which runs Feb. 18 to 24 and shows the current crop of best picture nominees.

The Plano, Tex.-based Cinemark didn’t reply to a request for comment.

Despite its role as a Hollywood disruptor, Netflix on Tuesday joined the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the main trade group representing the major studios.