Arbitrary Release Date Definitions Of Titles

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Titles of certain films date as 'first time shown' -- is becoming a major headache for producers and distributors. Too many films have flooding the market over the last 5 years, distributors - retailers - platforms (worldwide) are referencing IMDB's year as the year the film -- anything over 2 years is 'too old' now. In the case of 'Landfall' (tt6131562), producer shows the film at a festival in Australia in 2017 as a rough cut -- it screens and then he goes back to edit the film -- title is updated completed date of 2018 -- yet IMDB refuses to change the date to at least 2018?

I have made requests for update, but I get a cop-out answer relating to "....it's our policy..." is both inflexible and impracticable.

Issues IMDB needs to consider:
>Setting the year of the film based on it's first appearance. In most cases a festival (often times is this added from Festival submissions in withoutabox.com). This is huge where the prioducers may do a festival run for 12 - 18 months, then get a distribution release date 6 months later -- film is now considered 2 years old (not a new film)
>Date should be associate with the 'actual release date' of the title for general public distribution -- I would proposer defined as 'Actualy Theatrical release", "Digital Release available on platforms such as GooglePlay, Hulu, etc", "DVD releases", "first airing on TV". A festival release makes sense to be noted, but that should not make it the date of the title's release.

I am sure IMDB realizes most producers are one-up film makers (maybe two films). They just want to see their title on IMDB or naively fill-in the Withoutabox.com submission form not realizing that everything they submit becomes etched in stone on IMDB!?! As a result, IMDB is 50% accurate at best, while the world seems to believe it's 100% current.

Policy's are not etched in stone. Policy's are only 'guideline' and can be adjusted or changed. IMDB should consider a more accurate representation of the titles listed on it's site. Or jsut remain, 50% accurate at best.




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sean

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  • alive and well.

Posted 1 month ago

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MAthePA

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Hi, sean.

To make the life easier for all, not only for those who "alive and well" to ruin instead of adjust :) I'd suggest an alternative way to solve this same problem:
The producers could be advised to start first showing their films on wide public screens, and after that go to festivals when they do not succeed. Because now the great majority of them try promoting their products on festivals and respectively on IMDb before the big screen, and then those who did not succeed to monetize the success or did not succeed at all -- the try to find excuses in the "old" terminology.

The problem is not in the current system of defining the release date, and this is not in relation to the accuracy.
(Edited)
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sean

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Thanks. This still does not solve the problem of the date of the film be fixed to a first showing. As you suggest, lets say they do a "wide public screens" (let say at a Pub for free) in June 2017, and then after this screening  they decide to make a few edits and completed by September 2017 (very few people work in the summer), then submit to festivals the first festival is Decemeber 2017 -- they keep on the festival run until June 2018. The film is now looking for distribution and goes to the first international festival AFM in November 2018 (again, people don't work in the summer). The film gets a distribution deals (US and Foreign) and the release date (at least 3 months out) of February 28, 2019. On IMDB it says first release is June 2017 but the actual distribution is February 2019. Film is now seen as 2 years old. Your suggest is valid, but distribution is not a perfect world -- and IMDB locked it into a 2017 release date. Guess what? Philippines will NEVER release a film more then 1 year old -- maybe it's not big money loss, but I am sure you hate to tossing out leftovers lost in the refrigerator.
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MAthePA

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According to IMDb rules, the new edits you've mentioned are either new film having new or the same title but anyway a separate page on IMDb, or a version having no separate page that differs not much from the original film, hence includes no such difference that could be significant for the audience and for the voters. If you allow to neglect any first release for the reason of ANY edit, then be prepared for new releases of the same movies each month to simulate a "modernity" of those films.
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gromit82, Champion

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Sean: if distributors think that a movie that first premiered 2 years ago is "too old", how would changing IMDb's policy on years for titles help the problem? A movie that showed at a film festival in 2017 really did show at the festival in 2017, whether or not IMDb publicizes that fact or not. Is the producer going to lie to the distributor and claim that the film didn't actually show at the festival?

I don't think audiences find a festival release in a prior year to be a stigma against a film. The Upside is listed as a 2017 film by IMDb by virtue of showing at the Toronto International Film Festival that year, yet it wasn't widely released in the U.S. until January 2019. And it still grossed $108 million despite having the (2017) in parentheses after the title on IMDb. (For a movie that's not science fiction or fantasy, that's a fairly high gross.)
(Edited)
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bderoes, Champion

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c'mon, gromit82,
The Upside had major box-office draws: Stars: Kevin HartBryan CranstonNicole Kidman.

But if distributors are using an initial festival release date to carbon-date a film, and refusing something older than pasteurized milk, they either need some educating, or a better excuse-writer.
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gromit82, Champion

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Bderoes: Certainly The Upside was greatly helped at the box office by having major stars in the cast.

But the question is, given all of the film's other characteristics (cast, director, plot, etc.), whether it suffered any detriment from having to be listed with an IMDb date of 2017. How much more would it have grossed in 2019 if it could have borne an IMDb date of 2019 instead? I'm guessing probably not much more, although admittedly there's no way to be certain..
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sean

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If it matters, more then zero. That is what counts.
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sean

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YES IMDB is carbon dating them with the main page. {TITLE} (year) front and center on top of the main page (on pro). Distributors, Retail Buyers, Platforms are lazy -- they are not going to dig deeper distinguish between if that is a completion date or anything else. Too many films on the market, 'ye who holds the cash has the power.'
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bderoes, Champion

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gromit82, 
If The Upside had not had such big stars, it probably would not have gotten such a wide release and therefore might not have made such good revenue.

The point of this thread is not that older release dates hold back all films, but that it holds back SOME films, those without the full inventory of stars and publicity $$ backing them.

Plenty of films get limited releases or go directly to video/streaming with no fanfare because no one wants to finance the publicity to push the film, and the theatres don't want to waste seats airing an unpublicized film that might catch on by word of mouth.

Even Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is fading from theatres already, and that's with IMDb claiming in emails that its still trending/popular. Pity the films that DON'T get that support.