The Oscars have changed quite a bit over the years, especially with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Studios providing powerful content that viewers can watch at home. In fact, both of those streamers have had nominees in the biggest Academy Awards category: Best Picture. ( No wins yet, though.) And, smaller studios are also able to get into the nomination mix, even with limited theatrical runs in large markets like NYC and LA. Now, the parameters are changing for future nominees. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is requiring nominees to have an expanded theatrical run if they want a chance at holding the coveted Best Picture Oscar statue.
Deadline reports that this will begin with the 97th Academy Awards for films released in 2024. What does that mean, exactly? In order for a film to qualify for the big race, it must hit theaters in 10 of the top 50 US markets for at least seven days. This theater run must happen no later than 45 days after its initial release. Here are some additional parameters:
- For late-in-the-year films with expansions after Jan. 10, 2025, distributors must submit release plans to the Academy for verification.
- Release plans for late-in-the-year films must include a planned expanded theatrical run, as described above, to be completed no later than Jan. 24, 2025.
- Non-US territory releases can count towards two of the 10 markets.
- Qualifying non-US markets include the top 15 international theatrical markets plus the home territory for the film.
To be clear, this expanded theater run requirement is only for films vying for Best Picture consideration at the Oscars. The other categories remain the same for now. These parameters are an attempt to put films that are released in the “traditional way” and those from streaming services and smaller studios on the same playing field. So, in the future, we will certainly see more movies make it to theaters in a variety of markets. Only time will tell how this new requirement will change the game.