The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted to expand its minimum requirements for a theatrical release for movies to be considered for the Best Picture Oscar. Previously, candidate movies were required to have at least a one-week theatrical run in any one of six major U.S. cities – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, or Miami. Henceforward, in addition to this, movies will also need to expand to include an additional week playing in at least ten of the top 50 U.S. markets.
These new requirements will force streaming-first studios such as Netflix to expand the distribution of their top movies to wider theatrical runs. It will also force smaller distributors to invest in broader U.S. releases, which may represent a financial challenge for some indies. However, these changes will be a boost for exhibitors by encouraging all distributors to bring their best films to theatres.