With 63% of movie theaters open again in the United States, the National Association of Theater Owners, the Motion Picture Association, and several studios and industry figures are preparing a huge "The Big Screen Is Back" event. This initiative was first teased during the Academy Awards with a promo starring Matthew McConaughey but now an actual conference with clips will take place. Deadline brings word that studio heads and executives from studios including Warner Bros, Paramount, Sony, Disney, Universal, United Artists, NEON, IFC, A24, Focus, Lionsgate and Sony Pictures Classics, will all be present. It will take place May 19 at the AMC Century City 15 in Century City.
A statement released by the coalition reads: "After a year-and-a-half of theater closures, restrictions, consumer confusion, and moving slates, this event is meant to be a joyful celebration of the industry that we all love – one that includes entertainment press gathering together to celebrate the re-opening of theaters nationwide this summer. There is a lot to be excited about and much for audiences to look forward to this summer." It's unclear if any of these clips or moderated conversations will be available online or not.
Much of the features set to arrive this summer were originally scheduled to premiere in the summer of 2020 but were all forced to delay as theaters were closed and film goers were clearly not ready to venture out to see new movies prior to the vaccine.
Some of the highly anticipated movies scheduled to arrive this summer include The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It on June 4, In the Heights on June 11, Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard on June 16, F9 on June 25, The Forever Purge on July 2, Black Widow on July 9, Space Jam: A New Legacy on July 16, Snake Eyes on July 23, Jungle Cruise on July 30, The Suicide Squad on August 6, Free Guy on August 13, and Candyman on August 27.
A few of these films will be exclusive to movie theaters but both WarnerMedia and Disney have co-opted a hybrid day-and-date for some of their releases. All of WB's films for 2021 will debut on HBO Max and in theaters on the same date and no extra charge while Disney has chosen a select few titles to be available under Disney+ "Premier Access" at an additional cost.
"The Disney+ premier access strategy, one of the things it gives us right now, and we're grateful for this is the ability to go ahead and try to release things into the market, and try to reprime the pump, if you will," Disney CEO Bob Chapek said. "But at the same time know that for those consumers that are a little leery still about going into a packed theater, that they can go ahead and watch it in the safety and convenience of their home."
Even with some major releases like Black Widow and Jungle Cruise being part of the Disney+ Premier Access release strategy, "The Big Screen Is Back."
(Cover photo by E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)