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The shortening of the theatrical window could affect German films


- The draft of the new German film law has exhibitors concerned

The shortening of the theatrical window could affect German films
Christian Bräuer, president of German arthouse organisation AG Kino

In Germany, exhibitors are concerned about the latest changes that the new German film law might introduce. After the new draft of the law was confirmed by the cabinet, the Federal Assembly decided in its statement that the theatrical window may be shortened. According to Christian Bräuer, president of German arthouse organisation AG Kino, it has already become routine to shorten the theatrical window. “A holdback of five months always gets greenlit, although we still have a theatrical window of six months, according to the law.” 

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Should the theatrical window be brought down to only three months, in practical terms, this would mean that the blocking period would be reduced to two months. “This will be an existential threat for the cinemas,” underlines Bräuer, “because the Hollywood movies will follow and also shorten the window.”

This major change will affect cinemas in the countryside first and foremost, because they do not release the films in the opening week, but rather five, six or seven weeks later. “Exclusivity protects the cinemas.” But also, the theatres in big cities which are not first runners will have a problem. While big blockbusters manage to make the most of their box office run in the first three weeks, arthouse films stay on the screen much longer. But also, German films that are supported by film funds such as the FFA need to be visible in the cinemas in order to break through. One of the goals of arthouse cinemas is to give good movies a chance so that they can grow. “A shorter window will affect the diversity of films and the cinemas,” argues Bräuer. “A lot of money has been invested in digitisation to support the cinemas, but now the exclusivity will be taken away.”


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