Movies & Cinema during the Pandemic? Catch-all Discussion

Tino

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Great time seeing Inside Out and Ghostbusters at the drive-in last night. Two fantastic films. The strangest part was that they paused Ghostbusters right after Sigourney Weaver asked Bill Murray if he was the key master so they could ask the owner of a vehicle to move their car from the ice cream shop before it gets towed.
Are these just projected Blu Rays?
 

Wayne_j

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I'm not sure. These are titles offered nationwide to drive-ins so they could be DCP's.
 

Jake Lipson

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Theaters in Hong Kong are closing yet again.


This is another reason why it's not a good idea for theaters to reopen here either. "We're open, come back...oh, no, wait, we're closed again...and we're open...and we're closed..." etc. is bad messaging and does nothing good for consumer confidence. Theaters need to wait to reopen until they (and the studios providing them new movies) are sure that they can stay open. Putting aside the obvious health concerns, it doesn't make sense for the studios either because then you would have a bunch of new titles that become like Onward which lose money and would get rushed to VOD through no fault of their own when they're not able to have a full theatrical run.
 

Wayne_j

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Maybe theaters can reopen in New Zealand where they actually have extinguished the pandemic.
 
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TravisR

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California just shut down theaters (and other indoor places) so between that, huge spikes in major markets like Texas & Florida and New York being smart enough to be very careful in their reopening, I can't imagine that the theater chains will be reopening in a couple weeks.

Short version: Tenet will be getting bumped tomorrow or Wednesday.
 

Jake Lipson

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Short version: Tenet will be getting bumped tomorrow or Wednesday.
I bet they wait until Friday afternoon after the stock market closes just so they can drop bad news heading into the weekend in hopes that it won't be noticed as much. That won't work, but I bet they'll try that.

Also, I am in complete agreement with Wayne that everything just needs to be "TBD" at this point. It makes no sense to re-date everything and then have to re-date it again in another few weeks. Just saying, "We look forward to releasing the movie as soon as it is practical to do so and will announce further details at the appropriate time" is all they need to do.
 

Worth

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Maybe theaters can reopen in New Zealand where they actually have extinguished the pandemic.
New Zealand did a great job, but the entire country has about the same population as Chicago.
 

TravisR

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Or like I said earlier just put the entire slate as TBD.
I think the only reason they haven't done it is because the studios like having a release date staked out. The closer it gets to the end of the year, the less time there is to get a weekend that won't have something else on it.


I bet they wait until Friday afternoon after the stock market closes just so they can drop bad news heading into the weekend in hopes that it won't be noticed as much. That won't work, but I bet they'll try that.
The last time this same exact thing happened, I had expected the Friday afternoon move too but they did it on Thursday. Either way, by the end of the week, it'll be moved to September 9 (the 11th is a Friday but I don't know if that's a date that you want to associate with the big reopening of theaters) or September 18.
 

Jake Lipson

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I think the only reason they haven't done it is because the studios like having a release date staked out.
Right, but it's not fair to the theaters to keep changing the date because they have to make their reopening plans based around the availability of new product. Everyone in Hollywood knows that Tenet wants to be first among the major tentpoles, and they seem perfectly willing to let that happen, so Tenet could probably just come out whenever and the other stuff would move. Mulan keeps following Tenet around the schedule, sticking itself.a week later, because Disney wants to let WB go first. They want to be second after they see how many people are wiling to show up for Tenet. So I don't think competition for dates will be a factor in this situation.

The closer it gets to the end of the year, the less time there is to get a weekend that won't have something else on it.
I don''t think we're getting any movies for the rest of the year anyway. The situation is just too far out of control. The sooner the studios accept that, the sooner they can get started on rebuilding the 2021 and 2022 schedules to re-accommodate all the stuff they've had to delay. I know that I don't plan to return to the movies in 2020, and I normally go to more movies than anyone else I know outside of this board. If I'm not going back, where does that leave my friends who normally go out for only a few movies a year?
 
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TravisR

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Right, but it's not fair to the theaters to keep changing the date because they have to make their reopening plans based around the availability of new product.
I think the folks at the corporate level of the theater chains know that there's a real chance that they might not be back for many months. AMC has already publicly said that they now can financially withstand waiting to reopen until March. Letting the studios know that means that, worst case scenario, they will still have a viable place to play their movies so studios can wait until next year to release something. Needless to say, the corporate folks aren't letting the ground level employees know that they might not be getting a paycheck for another 6 months.


I don''t think we're getting any movies for the rest of the year anyway.
I still think they MAY be back by November enabling them to make some money at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
 

Jake Lipson

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I still think they MAY be back by November enabling them to make some money at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I hope not. Aside from the public health concerns which are obvious, there are a lot of movies currently on the schedule for November and December that I don't want to have to miss in theaters, but I would. Theaters, studios and filmmakers should not ask fans to choose between experiencing the newest big blockbuster on the big screen and their health. The movies will keep until next year.
 

Wayne_j

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On Wednesday a Pink Floyd tribute band will be playing Dark Side of Moon while the drive-in is playing The Wizard of OZ at my local drive-in.
 

Jake Lipson

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Movie Theaters May Be Largely Closed Until Mid-2021
It's pretty clear that this is all speculation at this point in time.

However, I would be all right with that because it would mean I wouldn't miss anything I really want to see. Just to use it as an example because it's the one that is getting the most focus at the moment, if Tenet comes out this year, I will skip it, because there's no way I am going to feel safe returning to a movie theater under present circumstances. If WB pushes Tenet to next summer after there is (fingers crossed) a vaccine, I would be there as soon as possible, without question. If we were in a version of the universe where none of this was happening, I would probably have seen Tenet yesterday and I would currently be writing a post in its thread about how great it is. I'd much rather be doing that than this. But here we are. So yeah, I'd miss it if it comes out this year.

As we have already discussed, I think it is time for the studios to admit that 2020 is over for new releases that require audience attendance outside the home. The advantage to their coming to this decision now, instead of incrementally pushing the films back on an individual basis, is that the sooner they admit it, the sooner they can start to rebuild the 2021 and 2022 release calendars to re-accommodate all of the delayed films.

The big tentpoles could be saved until next year, when we can only hope we'll have a vaccine, and the smaller films that wouldn't necessarily need to command huge grosses could continue to be sent to streaming to provide a cash infusion for the studios in the meantime.

The problem in all of this, of course, is the exhibitors, who wouldn't be able to get a cut of the films that are moved to streaming to help sustain them. This is why I agree with those who have suggested a government rent freeze absolving the theaters of having to pay rent while they are not legally permitted to be open. Of course, the government is too busy dealing with other things to consider that as something they should be doing. So the theaters themselves are in a really tough spot here. That being said, I do think that remaining closed is better than reopening to what I can only imagine would be paltry attendance and high risk to the staff, as well as any customers who did show up. Without making this into a political debate, I do think there needs to be a solution figured out so that the theaters are able to sustain themselves in the event of an even more prolonged closure than they have already experienced. Since the box office was something like $11 billion last year, without counting the concession money, it would be in the government's interest to help, because the movies are a significant part of our economy. The studios also have a vested interest in theaters surviving because, even with the increased focus on streaming, a huge tentpole film the size of Avengers or something like that will simply not work to the degree that it needs to work if there is not a theatrical release component. So if they want to keep making those, they're going to need exhibition partners that can show them.

I'm not really sure what the solution is, but people above my pay grade need to figure that out. We all need to have things to look forward to when this pandemic is over. For me one of those things is returning to a movie theater, safely, with a vaccine and without a mask to comfortably enjoy seeing stories on a big screen with a crowd again. It will probably be the first outing I do after I get the vaccine. But that means theaters have to be able to reopen.

I'm rambling now and have lost my train of thought so I'm just going to stop here.

Good night.
 
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ManW_TheUncool

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While I agree something probably needs to be done to help alleviate the pressure of rent costs, I don't think a govt enforced rent freeze (as in rent forgiveness at the sole expense of property owners) is the right way to go. That will just push the problem onto someone else.

I suspect what's best would be for the 2 sides of whatever rental contract to renegotiate and work out something viable enough for both sides on case-by-case basis -- afterall, such sudden eviction isn't some cure-all for the property owner either, especially for something like this in this kind of situation -- perhaps w/ some small amount of aid from the govt as well as the studios, et al... and/or maybe the studios (or their big conglomerate parents) should invest in theater companies to help them survive (both short and long term) given their own vested interests...

There really should also have been some kind of insurance coverage involved me thinks... though theater companies may not have (had the foresight to have) been covering themselves for something quite like this -- they probably should have all along to some extent, especially after previous threats of pandemic (and other stuff like bed bugs) even though those never rose to this level (in the USA at least), but probably accepted what they likely believed was low (enough) risk.

But honestly, if theater companies didn't bother at all (w/ insurance coverage for such issues), then they really don't deserve to survive me thinks...

_Man_
 
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Jake Lipson

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I don't know enough about economics and business to know that a rent freeze is the right thing. But if it isn't, then there has to be something else that is, because it is absolutely essential that movie theaters still exist when the vaccine finally arrives.

People who have more experience in this arena need to figure out a way for this to happen.

I don't know what the solution is, but I'm very much able to recognize the problem, and I hope that the people who actually can find the solution, whatever that might be, are recognizing it as well.
 

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