MATINEE MOUSE

tomjerryfastfurry.jpgWhen is a theatrical release not a theatrical release?As someone who is monitoring U.S. theatrical animated releases – for both my website and new book – I’ve established a criteria for what is and isn’t a legitimate movie theatre release. However, with ever-changing technologies and new marketing strategies continually evolvng, I find I’m wrestling with a new dilemma. What happens when a theatre is showing a direct-to-video movie on Saturday matinees, several weeks in advance of their dvd debut? Do I consider that an official theatrical release?An outfit called KIDTOON FILMS has started a weekly theatrical series of kiddie matinees, mixing old G-rated films with new direct-to-video movies. SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN, THE GOLDEN BLAZE and CANDYLAND have received Saturday and Sunday morning showings in theatres accross the country. Small newspaper ads are taken. The films are digitally projected – no 35mm print is made. This weekend, the new direct-to-video Tom & Jerry movie, The Fast And The Furry (coming out on Oct. 11th) is playing these KIDTOON matinees.These films were never intended for theatrical showing, but for marketing purposes they are made available to KIDTOONS for a short period of time. Shall I consider these “releases” as legitimate? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences wouldn’t, as they dictate a weeklong booking as a requirement. Will I list them on my website? For now, I guess I will. Their lack of a film print might be an excuse not to list them, but within ten years I doubt any film prints will be struck for theatre showings.Such are the concerns of a diligent film historian.