When the Academy’s board of governors met in April to tighten rules and regulations for the next Academy Awards, set for March 10, 2024, they left on the table discussion of new requirements that would expand the Oscar for best picture in a public theatrical exhibition. – award eligibility criteria. category. At their meeting today, the governors approved a change in exhibition eligibility — starting with the 97th Academy Awards in 2025 for films released in 2024.
This new requirement does not affect eligibility for achievements in other Oscar categories.
As before, the films must have a one-week release in cinemas in six qualifying US cities (Los Angeles County; New York City; Bay Area; Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia). After that, the film must have a seven-day extended theatrical run, consecutive or non-consecutive, in 10 of the top 50 US markets no later than 45 days after its first release in 2024.
That will force Netflix to book a wider theatrical footprint than it prefers for movies like “The Onion: Mystery of the Knives,” which is strictly booked for a one-week run. Netflix is using its theaters in New York and Los Angeles for promotional purposes, but would have to book 15 cities. “We have met these criteria in every Best Picture nomination for the past 5 years,” a spokesperson wrote in an email.
This also applies to the end-of-year expenses added after January 10, 2025. In this scenario, distributors must submit release plans to the Academy for review, and extended theatrical release must be completed by January 24, 2025.
Releases outside the US may count in two of the 10 markets. Qualified non-US markets include the top 15 international theatrical markets and the film’s domestic territory.
“As every year, we review and evaluate the eligibility requirements for the Academy Awards,” said Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang. “In support of our mission to celebrate and honor the art and science of filmmaking, we hope this expanded theatrical footprint will increase the visibility of our films worldwide and encourage audiences to experience our art in a theatrical setting. Based on many conversations with industry partners, we feel that this evolution is a win-win for filmmakers and film lovers alike.”
Increasing the number of theaters and cities that films must book to be eligible for the Oscars is intended to encourage theater attendance. This won’t disrupt the studios’ broad release plans, where budgets are already spread over multiple runs over time. But meeting these requirements places a greater burden on less well-funded distributors of independent films, who may not have the significant resources to support longer runs in multiple cities.
To be sure, 10 markets is not as punishing as the previously discussed three or four weeks in 15 or 20 cities. But a micro-indie like “To Leslie” played in six theaters and grossed less than $30,000 stateside.