25th Apr2018

Rakuten launch day & date VOD service with WW2 drama ‘Hurricane’

by Phil Wheat

Echoing the move by Sky to enter the day-and-date VOD market, Rakuten TV have announced the launch of its new project: Rakuten Cinema. The VOD company enters for the first time in the co-production and distribution field, with a distribution model based on a simultaneous theatrical and VOD release (as Sky Cinema did with Monster Family, Hurricane Heist and the forthcoming Anon) and empowering independent producers to stand head-to-head with their Hollywood counterparts.

As its first feature, Rakuten TV has selected Kaleidoscope Entertainment’s World War II action thriller, Hurricane – starring Iwan Rheon (Game Of Thrones, Marvel’s Inhumans, Riviera, Misfits), Milo Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge) and Marcin Dorocinski (Anthropoid, Rose, The Reverse). From BAFTA winning director, David Blair, Hurricane is produced by Krystian Kozlowski of Prospect 3, Matt Whyte of Stray Dogs Films and Lipsync Productions. Hurricane will be released in cinemas and digital VoD platforms in the UK simultaneously this Autumn, and tells the heroic true story of a group of crack Polish fighter pilots who helped defend British shores during the Battle of Britain.


From the press release:

Rakuten TV wants to empower cinema lovers to have access to great content – regardless of distribution status. There is a way of delivering a rich cinema experience in which independent producers can coexist with Hollywood studios in a constructive way, and Rakuten TV is eager to move in this direction with its new project. A major step for the company, founded in 2009 and which now has become one of the main VOD platforms in Europe with a very clear goal: bringing into homes the best cinematic experience via Smart TVs.

Rakuten Cinema is born with the aim of disrupting the cinema industry from the earliest stage of creation to distribution. Following the Rakuten TV company vision of empowerment, the main goal is offering cinema lovers quality content whenever and wherever they want. To do so Rakuten Cinema will both co-produce and distribute movie content by acquiring exclusive rights, with the aim of reducing the theatrical window by offering movies in the way audiences are demanding. The empowerment vision is also leveraging small producers, directors and stories that produce high quality movies but because of the mechanism of the distribution industry, often don’t have significant distribution in cinemas.

CEO of Rakuten TV, Jacinto Roca said: “The entertainment industry is going through a deep revolution and we want to lead it. For us, what matters is great content, no matter where or how it is consumed. Our vision is to empower people to watch and enjoy great stories without waiting months between its cinema and home entertainment release. We don’t want to substitute cinemas but instead complement and offer film loving consumers as many ways as possible to watch good movies whenever and wherever they want. Alongside our future distribution partners, we are passionate about leading a change in how good quality movies are being distributed in Europe, and supplying an increasing demand for the latest films at home now.”

With the launch of this project, Rakuten Cinema marks a real turning point in theatrical distribution with its own stamp. Original productions are planned to expand around Europe and next stop will be Spain, coming later this year. Rakuten Cinema has partnered with one of the UK’s leading independent studios, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, an established supporter of independent productions, and proud supporter of new and innovative distribution strategies designed to grow the market.

Kaleidoscope CEO, Spencer Pollard said: “We are very excited to be working with Rakuten in bringing Hurricane to a wide UK audience later this year. Not only is the film a visual spectacle, with brilliant performances and a fabulous authentic look and feel, but by partnering with Rakuten and hitting a key audience demographic, with our combined vision for the film and release plan, we hope to maximise the commercial returns for everybody involved. Rakuten are an aggressive, smart partner who we look forward to working with in the future.”


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