Screen News in Brief: Cinemas Open and Distributors start Dating

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Some Australian films slot into schedule, the Senate passes call for local content obligations on streamers, and much more in our fortnightly wrap.

Cinemas Open

  • From June 22 most indoor cinemas will be open, albeit with physical distancing, crowd control regimes and lots of hand sanitiser being squirted around.
  • Drive-ins and selected venues in some States have been open a while.
  • Cinemas are now spruiking their most crowd-friendly fare as well as some smaller titles. A very weird box office report earlier this week tells the story, with The Invisible Man returning, and Dirty Dancing and Clueless doing well on limited screens.
  • The classics strategy is pursued by single screen theatres like Melbourne's Astor, whose July calendar features macho fan favorites like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner and the widescreen pleasures of Dunkirk. Meanwhile, Classic, Lido and Cameo Cinemas are promising more romantic golden-era classics like Casablanca, Singin' in the Rain and West Side Story
  • The first Australian film to be released in theatres as restrictions ease is family fantasy adventure The Legend of the Five on 25 June, just in time for school holidays, and distributed by Filmink Presents. The directing debut of Mad Max's Joanne Samuel, and starring The Conjuring 2's Lauren Esposito, it's a PG-rated story about 'a group of misfit teenagers who encounter an ancient relic on a school trip'.
  • Ben Lawrence's Hearts and Bones, starring Hugo Weaving, was released online by Madman during lockdown, but it's now getting some theatrical screenings too.
  • Kriv Stenders' Peter Brock documentary, Brock: Over the Top, gets an outing at Queensland's Yatala Drive-In (Mon 23, Tues 24 and Wed 25 June). Stenders' other documentary project, the Slim dusty biopic Slim and I, will be released on 20 August. Both are distributed by Universal.
  • Universal will also release Shannon Murphy's Babyteeth on 23 July.

Distributors get Dating

  • Stan have announced that Natalie Erika James' horror thriller Relic, starring Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin and Bella Heathcote will release on the streaming platform on Friday 10 July. Relic was co-written with Christian White, and explores the ghosts of Alzheimers disease. It premiered in the Midnight section at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and boasts a 100 per cent score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Relic is co-produced by Carver Films’ Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw (PartisanSnowtown), and Nine Stories’ Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker, with the Russo Brothers’ (Avengers: Endgame) AGBO executive producing.
  • Sony have released a distribution schedule too, with locally made Peter Rabbit 2 locked in for Boxing Day. The distributor is going with some arty international titles in July: Natalie Kinsky's romantic comedy, The Broken Hearts Gallery (16 July); and Guiseppe Capatonidis' art drama, The Burnt Orange Heresy, starring Elizabeth Debicki and Claes Bang (23 July).
  • Sony's next films off the rank are big ones for September: Monster Hunter (the fantasy action thriller based on a game); and animated family comedy about a tech conspiracy, Connected, from the producer of Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse and The Lego Movie.
  • You know arthouse cinemas are back when the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival announces its return. It will run from Bastille Day, 14 July, until 4 August, at Palace Cinemas and associated venues across seven cities.
  • Unconfirmed rumours date Christopher Nolan's Tenet (Roadshow) on 16 July. Whether and when this much-anticipated tentpole picture gets released will reveal much about the real state of things.

Read more: Just Hit Send: An interview with Christian White

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