Village Roadshow fails Turing test

Despite assurances that all future Roadshow film releases in Australia would be on the same day as in the US, an upcoming film tracing the life of British computer scientist Alan Turing will be delayed in Australia by over a month.

At last week's Online Copyright Infringement Forum in Sydney , Village Roadshow co-CEO Graham Burke made the pronouncement that no more would Australians have to wait for films to be released in Australia. Burke said that the company had realised its mistake in delaying the release of The Lego Movie in Australia in order for it to be released in time for school holidays.

"It caused it to be pirated very widely, and as a consequence — no more. Our policy going forward is that all of our movies we will release day and date with the United States," Burke said.

However, the move to day-and-date releases for the films has yet to be finalised, with The Imitation Game — a biopic "thriller" film about the life of computer scientist Alan Turing, starring Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch — will be released in Australia over a month after its November 14 and November 21 release dates in the UK and the US, respectively, on January 1, 2015.

Burke told ZDNet today that the deal for the release of the film had been finalised before Village Roadshow's policy change on releases, and was set for New Year's Day in order to coincide with an Australian holiday period.

"We are indeed working towards virtually day-and-date release of all film, and especially the big wide-release titles like Chris Nolan's Interstellar," he said.

"There will be a small number of 'little' films where it is a case of getting theatre availability, and specifically as to The Imitation Game, when the deal was done for the release a condition was that it would get holiday playing time."

By and large, the release windows for films in Australia have improved significantly over the past few years, in spite of some claims of continued delays.

According to tech site Reckoner, almost all of the top 10 copyright-infringed films listed by Electronic Frontiers Australia in August were released in Australia on or sometimes earlier than the release date in the US.

In Village Roadshow's submission to the online copyright infringement discussion paper, the company said it is looking to reduce prices, and make films available to download in an easy, timely, and low-priced way.