NZ Cinema Unspools Streaming Service

Academy Cinemas will launch Academy on Demand on Friday.

The Auckland-based independent operator has been working on the initiative for a year and is launching the service following the closure of its doors because of the government’s COVID-19 measures.

Titles have yet to be disclosed but in a letter to customers and media, programming & projection head Gorjan Markovski wrote:

Like many cinemas around the country, we had to close our doors on Monday to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In such uncertain times, our first priority is certainly the safety of our staff and customers. We were sad to say “au revoir” to our large and loyal cohort of fans who have expressed concern over the future of our little independent cinema.

Even though our venue may be closed, we can reassure you that Academy is going nowhere! Thanks to the generosity of our owner and shareholders, as well as the government subsidy, all of our staff will remain employed and we can also announce that we are working to continue bringing quality Academy programming direct into your homes.

Over the past year, we’ve been working on a streaming service called Academy On Demand, to bring you our best independent, foreign and classic titles via our website; we recognised that there was a lack of availability of our favourite films on other online streaming platforms. We think now is the right time to finally launch.

Starting from Friday, fans of Academy Cinemas will be able to rent a quality new release or classic title for seven days. I (as Head of Programming and Projection) as well as our other staff members will still be curating films, including a continuation of our beloved $5 Wednesday specials, giving customers the opportunity to rent newer titles at this discounted price.

We have a small but wonderful selection of films available now from a couple of our great distribution partners and we’re working hard to get other distributors on board quickly to be able to bring you even more films and regular new releases.

With the Level 4 lockdown in effect from tonight, our Academy team is working from home to provide this service for our valued customers, who still want to see independent films and cinemas thrive. We look forward to finally getting our project up and running on Friday – you will hear more from us then!

We hope you will love Academy On Demand (almost) as much as you love our little cinema and we will be so grateful for Kiwis’ much-needed support in such tumultuous times.

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