Joseki wrote:I wouldn't speculate on who has the final say, unless you have seen the contracts.
I don't mean to speculate. I hope it's not coming across that way. I'm looking at the issue simply when it comes to theatrical distribution having already spoken to a few filmmakers about it in my personal life.
Distributors assure filmmakers that when a movie is finished it’s marketed appropriately and is able to secure a theatrical run that best suits it. A key thing the distributors make sure of it is that the movie doesn't get released the same day as 15 other similar movies because that could divide up the paying audience and could lessen the number of screens the movie could play on.
Khara working with both Toho & Toei means they want the best release possible for their film. Khara wants the film to play on the most number of screens, they want assurances they'll be on the largest IMAX screens in the country and they want to know they'll have little to no direct competition on opening weekend. No matter what, Toho + Toei will absolutely get them that. The question is just when that date is and with Covid-19 everything has become insanely more complicated.
When movie theaters are able to open again, whenever that may be, Toho + Toei and all the other film distributors will have dozens of already finished or near finished movies that each have specific contracts for a theatrical run and all those movies will need to be rescheduled on the calendar. Distributors will also have to work around the big Hollywood movies that take up a lot of screen space and normally don't budge once they've set their eyes on a date. Theatrical release schedules are usually mapped out months if not years in advance (obviously the bigger the project the earlier the plans are formulated) and now the release calendar will have to be rebuilt almost entirely from scratch.
Evangelion will take a priority over most films because it’s such a highly anticipated release but Khara isn't able to just strut into Toho & Toei’s offices and say "Give us this Date with X amount of Theaters and that's Final" because it could lead to a conflict of interest Toho/Toei have with another film. Here's a simplification but if say the new Pokemon movie has already signed a contract assuring they will release on Date X and are promised 50% of all screens in Tokyo for the first weekend. Then Khara comes along, not knowing of Pokemon's contact, saying they want to release on Date X and want to have 51% of all screens in Toyko then that request can't be meet. (Obviously that scenario is a gross simplification, it's never as easy as only two movies dividing all screens)
I would guess (now this is true speculation) but Khara have given Toho + Toei a list of dates they like - these can be anything from two months to a year + in the future - and the work is being done/has been done to see if any of those are feasible and to assure there are no conflicts of interest. Naturally, the complications of the job has multiplied tenfold because of Covid-19 and not knowing when theaters will reopen again. Most of the filmmakers I've spoken with recently in my personal life say their films are on hold indefinitely or are being sold to a streaming service.
Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time (love that title) won't be going to a streaming service. It also won’t have much difficulty finding a new release date when theaters reopen. It's not a small obscure indie but is one of, if is not THE most highly anticipated Japanese theatrical release that was scheduled for 2020. Once theaters can reopen Toho & Toei will provide them with the best possible release date and once that date is official and worked into the schedule all other distributors will give it a wide berth. But, because of the complication of the Covid-19 situation Khara will have to work with Toho/Toei to confirm a date that works so they all can move ahead on it together. Khara has a say in the discussion - I imagine they can turn down dates offered - but the final decision rests with the distributors who have to confirm if a release date they have in mind can actually happen.