Why isn’t 1917 playing near me?


Source: RogerEbert.com

If you are like me, you have been waiting and waiting for the film 1917 (affiliate link) to come out at a theater near you. You know the movie is out, but you check the local listings to no avail. The reason you can’t see 1917 yet is that it is has a limited release (aka, “platform release”). A platform release is a type of limited release in which a film opens in fewer theaters (typically 599 or fewer) than a wide release, and only in large markets like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. This leaves us less privileged folks in smaller markets to patiently wait until Jan 10th, 2020. Frustrating!

But why not just release it nationwide right now?

The studio likely doesn’t want to risk a slow opening due to the intense competition that the new Star Wars (affiliate link) movie will create this holiday season. Apparently, Disney is requiring theaters to show The Last Jedi in their largest auditorium for a minimum of 4 weeks.

So why not release 1917 everywhere after the hype of Star Wars dies down?

Most who have seen the 1917 trailer understand this film is a contender for “Best Picture.” To be eligible for Oscar consideration, films must open in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County by December 31, and begin a minimum run of seven consecutive days.

2 responses to “Why isn’t 1917 playing near me?

  1. Yep. Most of the films today are complete garbage. Just a cash grab. 1917 should have wide release soon though (even near you) if it’s as good as people say. See it while you can though. You might have only a couple weeks of a run there before it gets pulled. It’s probably an expensive movie for the theater there to rent showing rights for.


  2. Thanks for the explanation. We live in a rural Pennsylvania college town, and while we’re lucky that a small regional theater chain salvaged our small, 4-screen theater when the mall where it is located crashed and the big national theater chain bolted, we miss a LOT of films–pretty much everything that doesn’t isn’t a cartoon, a super-hero movie, another type of big-budget tentpole, or something with a lot of explosions. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE popcorn movies, but smaller films require a 45-mile drive to a suburban Pittsburgh multiplex, if we’re lucky and the film gets some traction, or a 60 mile trek into the city itself where a few old theaters still thrive on artistic pretensions (and I mean that in the best way possible.) Small films that draw small audiences just aren’t profitable, so we don’t see them, which means that folks around here have lower expectations, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of dumbed down blockbuster-ism. Limited release deals only make it worse. If the hype for 1917 hasn’t peaked by wide-release date, we’ll have to drive an hour to see it.