Morning Consult Entertainment: AMC Theatres, Cineworld Move Reopenings to End of July

Top Stories

  • AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. is pushing its phased reopening back two weeks, with 450 locations opening on July 30 and another 150 the following week, after Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Co. shifted the release dates of “Tenet” and “Mulan” to August. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Cineworld Holdings PLC is also delaying the reopening of its U.S. and U.K. movie theaters to the end of July, saying in a statement that the shift was made as a result of “recent changes to upcoming film release dates.” (The Hollywood Reporter
  • The Sundance Film Festival is planning to expand beyond its traditional Park City, Utah, home in 2021, incorporating an online program and at least 20 other locations for next year’s event. Festival director Tabitha Jackson said that while next year’s selection of films will be smaller, each participating city will be allowed to select films that best fit with its community. (The New York Times
  • The Broadway League has announced that all Broadway shows will remain closed through at least Jan. 3, 2021, with individual shows reopening on a rolling basis. League President Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement that Broadway looks forward to welcoming patrons back to the theater “as soon as it is safe to do so.” (Playbill)

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Hollywood Unions & MPA Lobby Nancy Pelosi & Mitch McConnell For More COVID-19 Relief To Restart Industry
Dominic Patten, Deadline Hollywood 

It’s not that often that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP high command get a direct request from Hollywood, but the chaos, losses and wounds of the coronavirus pandemic have created a new normal in more ways than one.

U.S. Buys Debt From Hollywood Giants As Pandemic Credit Facility Ramps Up
Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter 

The U.S. government has purchased millions of dollars in corporate bonds issued by entertainment giants like Fox Corp., Comcast, AT&T and others as part of a debt liquidity program spurred on by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Oscars Finally Give Agents the Vote
Steve Pond, The Wrap 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has reclassified agents from Associate Membership status, which does not allow a member to vote, to the Members-at-Large section of the Academy, which does carry voting privileges.

CNN Center is for sale, but employees will remain in Atlanta
Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times 

WarnerMedia is putting CNN Center, the longtime Atlanta-based facility for the cable news network, up for sale. The company made the decision to sell the property known to employees on Monday.

Will Disney’s July Restart Fall Apart Before It Begins?
Tim Baysinger, The Wrap Pro 

Here’s how fast things can change in the middle of a pandemic. Just three weeks ago, it looked like Disney was poised to begin its slow crawl back up the mountain in July, with the release of its first movie in three months and the reopening of both Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.

SAG-AFTRA Board Approves TV/Theatrical Agreement
Jonathan Handel, The Hollywood Reporter 

The national board of performers’ union SAG-AFTRA, meeting via videoconference Monday, approved the new TV/theatrical agreement reached earlier this month with major motion picture and television studios, the union announced.

Coronavirus drove a boom in virtual content; to protect artists, copyright law must catch up
Edward Klaris, Los Angeles Times 

On April 19, Rainn Wilson (a.k.a. Dwight Schrute) appeared on John Krasinski’s YouTube show “Some Good News,” and warned his former “Office” cast member not to stream a Chance the Rapper song without first getting permission from the artist or the publishing company. Krasinski then brought Chance himself onto the show, and he gave the green light.

Cuomo says MTV VMAs will be held at Barclays Center on Aug. 30
Bernadette Hogan and Natalie Musumeci, New York Post 

The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn this August — either with a limited audience or none at all due to the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday. The annual awards show, scheduled for Aug. 30, will follow all safety guidance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo said during a press briefing in Manhattan.

Blackstone Sees Film-Production Facilities as a Hot New Real-Estate Play
Konrad Putzier, The Wall Street Journal 

Real-estate investors at Blackstone Group Inc. are getting into show business. They are doing it not by making movies or TV shows themselves, but by acquiring stakes in the production facilities and other real estate where companies like Netflix Inc. and the Walt Disney Co. are creating content.

The Broadway League to Undertake Audit of Diversity in the Industry
Olivia Clement, Playbill 

As the global spotlight on the Black Lives Matter movement continues, so do calls for racial justice across communities and industries. The American theatre is no exception. 

Without Concerts, Artists Are Turning to Ice Cream Deals and Sponsored Livestreams
Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone 

In the last couple of months, United Talent Agency (UTA),which represents artists including Post Malone and Chance the Rapper, has closed 165 brand partnership deals for its artists. Co-heads of UTA’s music brand partnerships division Alisann Blood and Toni Wallace say they expect to close twice as many deals as in 2020 as in a more typical year.

How Coronavirus Threatens Hollywood Background Actors
Beatrice Verhoeven, The Wrap Pro

As Hollywood gears up to head back into production, new coronavirus safety regulations that require sets to limit cast and crew members have worried background actors who feel threatened by being replaced by visual effects. 


What If Moviegoing Is No Longer Fun? The Frightening Realities of COVID-19 Exhibition
Tom Brueggemann, IndieWire 

Of all the challenges facing the exhibition industry, no one expected the insurmountable hurdle presented by a tiny piece of cloth. Face masks may be key to preventing the spread of COVID-19, but they have also become a symbol of political tribalism. 

Indie Movies Get a Chance to Star at Drive-Ins
John Jurgensen, The Wall Street Journal 

It’s like a science fiction tale set in the movie business: A pandemic shuts down multiplexes and wipes Hollywood’s releases off the calendar. Drive-in theaters rise from obscurity and re-embrace their B-movie heritage.

Cineplex Gets New Money From Lenders After Failed Takeover
Ilya Banares, Bloomberg 

Cineplex Inc. struck a deal with lenders for C$250 million ($183 million) in new financing as it deals with an uncertain future after a failed takeover.

Movie studios face an unprecedented choice as summer drags on: resort to high-priced digital rentals or wait for theaters to reopen
Travis Clark, Business Insider 

More than three months after movie theaters throughout the US shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the industry’s immediate future is still up in the air. Coronavirus cases have surged in states like Texas, Florida, and California, which have begun to roll back reopening strategies to slow the spread.


Thanks to Lack of Sports, Advertising Revenue for U.S. Media Plummeted 31% in May
Brian Steinberg, Variety 

Advertisers are spending less to get their messages in front of the U.S. consumer base, thanks to fewer big media spectacles to which they can attach.

Technology and New Media

Quibi has courted influencers for its shows but insiders say it ruffled feathers by dismissing ‘YouTuber ideas’ in favor of familiar TV formats
Ashley Rodriguez and Amanda Perelli, Business Insider Prime 

Earlier this month, New Yorker staff writer Emily Nussbaum raised on Twitter a question that was on the minds of many people in the media and tech industries: ‘How would you fix Quibi,’ a mobile-video subscription service that launched in April to lukewarm audience adoption. Among many crowdsourced suggestions was Ludlow Ventures partner Blake Robbins’ recommendation that Quibi invest in digital creators like David Dobrik and Jimmy Donaldson (aka MrBeast) — who bring in millions of views on platforms like YouTube and TikTok — and give them the freedom to “create magic” for the platform.

Streaming Subscribers Have Itchy Trigger Fingers During COVID-19, With Churn Rate Rising To 41%
Dade Hayes, Deadline Hollywood 

The overall “churn” rate, reflecting how many customers cancel their subscriptions to streaming services, rose to 41% during the first quarter of 2020 from 35% in the same period of 2019.

Netflix’s Big Idea to Support Black Communities
The New York Times 

We have the first look at a new move to help bridge the racial economic divide in America: Netflix will shift some of its $5 billion in cash to financial institutions that focus on black communities.

Some Harry Potter Game Developers Rattled by J.K. Rowling Backlash
Jason Schreier, Bloomberg 

One of the most anticipated video games is one whose existence has yet to be acknowledged by its publisher, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It’s a big-budget Harry Potter game that will let players role-play as wizards and roam a vast, open-world re-creation of Hogwarts and its surrounding areas.

Amazon Prime Video introduces ‘Watch Party,’ a social co-viewing experience included with Prime
Sarah Perez, TechCrunch 

Amazon  Prime Video is beginning to roll out a co-viewing feature to Amazon Prime members in the U.S., the company announced today. The “Watch Party” feature, which is included at no extra cost with a Prime membership, allows participants to watch video content together at the same time with the playback synchronized to the host’s account.

Colin Kaepernick’s story is coming to Netflix. What we know so far
Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times 

A scripted drama about Colin Kaepernick‘s formative years is in the works, Netflix announced today. “Colin in Black & White,” a six-episode scripted drama series, will explore the high school years of the former quarterback and activist, with the goal of providing insight into the experiences that led to his activism today.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

2020 Was Turning Into a Great Year for TV. Then Everything Changed.
Alison Herman, The Ringer 

When my colleague Miles Surrey and I convened to assemble our list of the best television series of 2020 thus far, our choices were evenly distributed over the first six months of the year—surprisingly so, given how prone networks are to overstuffing the pre-Emmy-deadline months of spring. The New Pope, Paolo Sorrentino’s follow-up to the strange, surreal, and sensational The Young Pope, kicked things off in January with a return trip to Vatican City.

Taking Down Racist Episodes, Recasting Voice Roles Won’t Get At The Real Problems
Marina Fang, The Huffington Post 

As industries and institutions face long-overdue reckonings with racism and white supremacy, they say they want to “do better,” posting statements proclaiming that Black lives matter, and in some cases, taking nominal steps forward.

What Buyers Liked—and Didn’t Like—About the Virtual NewFronts
Jason Lynch, Adweek 

The first-ever virtual NewFronts is in the books. Adweek has already rounded up the most memorable moments from last week’s events, and now it’s time for the buyers to have their say.

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