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UPDATED THURSDAY OCTOBER 1ST
Movie Theater Rescue Called For By Top Filmmakers
According to the letter, 93% of movie theater companies had year-over-year losses of more than 75% in the second quarter of 2020. If the status quo continues, it goes on to say, 69% of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or to close permanently, and 66% of theater jobs will be lost...With the proliferation of streaming and other at-home options, skeptics have wondered about whether theatrical moviegoing as a ritual will survive. But proponents — and major media companies and their allies — also point to the profit motive. Big-budget movies are not able to reach the heights of $1 billion-plus in revenue without theaters, and taking that element away would irrevocably alter all of the other drops in the movie revenue waterfall model.
Movie Theaters Reduce Hours as Hollywood Delays Fall Tentpoles Many circuits, including AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark — the country's three largest chains — are beginning to limit the number of showtimes, as are scores of other chains and independent houses in order to reduce costs, sources say. Some, including Cinemark and Marcus Theatres, are going further and closing a small number of their cinemas on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The lack of Hollywood studio product poses a serious dilemma for cinemas, which have spent millions on new safety and social distancing protocols in the campaign to lure consumers back to to theaters in the COVID-19 era, including reduced capacity. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/movie-theaters-reduce-hours-as-hollywood-delays-fall-tentpoles
'Craft: The Legacy' Heads Straight to PVOD Over Halloween Blumhouse and Sony's The Craft: The Legacy will bypass a traditional theatrical release and be made available on premium VOD in North America just in time for Halloween, the two companies announced Monday….The film will be available for a 48-hour rental for $19.99, and to buy for $24.99, beginning at midnight on Oct. 28. An international theatrical release is anticipated in several territories. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/craft-the-legacy-heads-straight-to-pvod-over-halloween
India to Reopen Cinemas From Mid-October
Cinemas across India are to be allowed to reopen from Oct. 15,…“Cinemas/ theatres/ multiplexes will be permitted to open with up to 50% of their seating capacity,” said the Home Ministry. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is expected to issue further standard operating procedures which cinema operators will be required to apply.
The more than six months of cinema closure have caused content owners and distributors to experiment with direct to streaming business models. Amazon Prime was first to ditch a planned theatrical release in favor of an online one when it grabbed Shoojit Sircar’s Amitabh Bachchan-starring “Gulabo Sitabo.” But that example has been followed by Disney Plus Hotstar, Netflix and Sony LIV, all adding to the vibrancy of India’s streaming sector.
Asian Cinemas Reduce COVID-Safe Restrictions, Expand Seating Capacity
In Singapore, where theaters re-opened in mid-July, operators of large auditoria of more than 300 seats will be allowed to sell up to 150 tickets per hall in three blocks of 50 patrons each, starting from Thursday. Smaller capacity venues will be allowed to sell up to 50% of their seats. Since July 13 all Singapore cinemas had to observe a capacity limit of 50 tickets per theater, and other safe distancing and hygiene measures.
Disney+ Launches Co-Viewing Feature Disney+ is jumping on the co-viewing bandwagon with a new feature called GroupWatch. The experience, which launches Tuesday in the U.S. after a test run in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, allows up to seven people to watch the same Disney+ title together, even if they are in separate places. Few co-viewing experiences have been available on television sets, but GroupWatch works across a number of platforms, including web browsers, mobile devices, connected TV boxes and smart TVs.While they watch, users can react in-app by sharing emojis with each other. Additional communication, like sending text messages, has to be done outside the app, but Jimerson says his team is exploring adding more features that allow user interactions in the future.
GroupWatch is available across all Disney+ titles, provided they are accessible in a user’s home market. The feature is expected to roll out in Europe later this fall after its U.S. launch. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/disney-launches-co-viewing-feature