Don’t let coronavirus worries kill movie theater industry yet: Dr. Marc Siegel
Fox News’ Dr. Marc Siegel on the coronavirus vaccine development and how it’s impacting the entertainment industry.
Warner Bros. and Universal brass have no desire to purchase movie theaters because of the coronavirus and the toll the pandemic has taken on the Hollywood industry.
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“We have no plans to do that currently,” Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, said when asked if the option of bailing out sinking theaters was on the table.
Langley appeared with chair and CEO of Warner Bros. Ann Sarnoff and CBS CEO George Cheeks on a Milken Institute Global Conference virtual panel about COVID-19’s effect on Hollywood.
“We have no plans either,” Sarnoff said through light chuckles, according to Deadline.
In 2019, the theater industry as a whole raked in more than $11 billion in revenue, despite being on a slight decline in recent years. Regardless of what happened before the pandemic, the future of the theater model remains grim.
AMC THEATERS AND CINEMARK HAVE NO PLANS TO CLOSE AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC DESPITE REGAL SHUTTERING
Meanwhile, the country’s largest theater chain AMC said earlier this week it could run out of cash by the end of the year or at best, early 2021.
Moreover, Cineworld, which operates Regal Cinemas, the country’s second-largest movie theater chain, recently closed its entire stable of U.S., U.K. and Ireland theaters for the second time since March.
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Earlier this year, Universal cut an unprecedented deal with AMC, which allowed certain titles to be pulled from the theaters after just 17 days, a stout difference than the exclusive three-month window that was in place before.
However, considering there is a Disney-owned El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles and Netflix recently purchased the famed Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, Calif., in May, as well as, secured the purchase of the Paris Theater in New York City in November 2019, Sarnoff and Langley still didn’t budge in their declaration that acquiring standalone venues were out of the question.
“I’m kind of an armchair sociologist and I believe people want to have communal experiences and especially with certain genres,” Sarnoff said. “We’re big fans of the exhibitors. They’ve been good partners of ours for many decades. We’re rooting for them. I know it’s tough sledding right now. I’m hoping they come out on the other side, probably even stronger.”
Still, it’s hard for moviegoers to get on board with lugging themselves or their families to a sit-in theater as numerous premieres and projects have either been pushed back to 2021 or are relegated to biting the bullet and releasing directly on streaming platforms.
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Disney pushed “Black Widow,” starring Scarlett Johansson, from Nov. 6 to May 2021, while also deciding to bring “Soul,” a Pixar movie set to debut in theaters on Nov. 20, to its streaming service, Disney+, on Christmas Day.
Warner Bros. recently delayed “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson, from Oct. 1, 2021, to March 4, 2022, while MGM has delayed the upcoming James Bond flick, “No Time to Die,” starring Daniel Craig, until April 2, 2021 from Nov. 12.