Jamie Neish: So many films, so little time on screen

Unfriended. Pic: PA
Unfriended. Pic: PA
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IF you were asked to name all the films released in UK cinemas last weekend, how many would you count?

Three, four, maybe five at the most? Well, you’d be wrong. There was in fact a total of 24 films out last weekend.

Okay, so some of them weren’t as widely available as the likes of Unfriended (pictured), Far From The Madding Crowd and Monsters: Dark Continent, but that number is correct - and that’s problematic.

Surely, though, it’s encouraging to see so many films being released? Well, yes, but those films are having to work even harder to find an audience.

It’s easier for the bigger films - say Fast and Furious 7 or Avengers: Age of Ultron, both of which opened to sky-high box office numbers - to stay their course and earn their distributors a profit.

But what of the smaller films, the ones that come via tiny art house distributors who don’t have millions to spend on advertising?

It’s those films that suffer the most - the films that are made available on maybe a handful of screens and forced to earn their place there the week after.

If it doesn’t, well, that’s it. The film vanishes from cinema screens in readiness for the next independent film to take its place.

Of course, it all comes down to money, but it’s no surprise that smaller films take longer to find an audience. If there are so many films being released and so few screens for them to be shown on, how are they supposed to prove themselves in the space of a week or two?

It’s unfair. And it’s not the film-makers’ fault. It’s that of distributors. If more care was taken in choosing the date, right release strategy and platform (View On Demand needs to be taken more seriously), then more films might have a shot at being seen.

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