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In snub of Netflix, AMC and Regal cinemas won’t show ‘Roma’ as part of Oscars showcases. The Magic Lantern will

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 22, 2019, 5:18 p.m.

“Roma” received 10 Academy Award nominations, including a nod for best picture. It is the first time that a Netflix movie has been nominated for Oscar’s top prize. (Carlos Somonte / Netflix)
“Roma” received 10 Academy Award nominations, including a nod for best picture. It is the first time that a Netflix movie has been nominated for Oscar’s top prize. (Carlos Somonte / Netflix)
By David Ng Los Angeles Times

Two of the largest cinema chains in the U.S., and the two major players in the greater Spokane area, won’t show Netflix’s “Roma” as part of their annual best-picture Oscars showcases, in a further sign that chilly relations haven’t thawed between major exhibitors and the streaming entertainment company.

Neither AMC Theatres nor Regal has exhibited “Roma” prior to Tuesday’s announcement of the Academy Award nominations. The theater chains have cited Netflix’s windowing strategy for the movie, which involved a three-week limited theatrical run prior to its streaming debut.

Spokane-area fans can check out the acclaimed film at the Magic Lantern, 25 W. Main Ave., in downtown. The film will be screened at 6 p.m. nightly this week and is scheduled to continue at least through Jan. 31.

“Roma” received 10 Academy Award nominations, including a nod for best picture. It is the first time that a Netflix movie has been nominated for Oscar’s top prize.

But Leawood, Kansas-based AMC said that “Roma” won’t be part of its annual AMC Best Picture Showcase, a two-day event Feb. 16-17 at participating AMC cinemas around the country.

“For more than a decade, movie lovers have enjoyed the AMC Best Picture Showcase to catch up on the nominated films that played at AMC throughout the prior year,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday. “This year, Academy members nominated a film that was never licensed to AMC to play in our theatres. As such, it is not included in the AMC Best Picture Showcase.”

Regal Entertainment Group said in a separate announcement that its annual Best Picture Film Festival won’t include “Roma.”

“The Regal Best Picture Film Festival showcases the Best Picture nominees that played in our theatres in 2018. For that reason, ‘Roma,’ a movie predominantly shown on TV, will not be included in our festival,” the company said in a statement. The festival is set to run Feb. 15-24 at Regal cinemas.

Knoxville, Tennessee-based Regal operates 558 theaters nationwide, while AMC runs 639 theaters.

Netflix declined to comment. The Los Gatos, California, company made the unprecedented decision to open “Roma” in a handful of cinemas for three weeks prior to making the Alfonso Cuaron movie available on its streaming platform on Dec. 14.

In the past, when Netflix has released a movie in theaters, it has made the title available simultaneously on its streaming service. But the critical acclaim that has followed “Roma” since its debut at the Venice Film Festival last year prompted the company to break with its long-standing rule.

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