Movies

Virtual 'Star Wars' Convention to Launch for May the 4th. Reedpop, the organization behind Star Wars Celebration, is hosting An Online Revelry: May the 4th Be With You and Revenge of the 5th. Fan conventions have gone on hiatus as COVID-19 continues to keep the world on lockdown, but that isn't preventing New York Comic Con and Star Wars Celebration organizers ReedPop from marking next week's Star Wars Day. The two-day An Online Revelry: May the 4th Be With You and Revenge of the 5th celebration features multiple virtual events, including live-tweeting movies and episodes of both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, as well as Q&A sessions and discussions with writers and voice actors associated with the franchise. (A full schedule can be seen in the two graphics below.) Additionally, fans will be able to take part in trivia quizzes and prize giveaways across the May 4-5 period, with ReedPop encouraging usage of the hashtags #Maythe4th and #Revengeofthe5th for those participating. Events will take place across social media accounts associated with multiple ReedPop properties, including New York Comic Con, C2E2, BookCon, Emerald City Comic Con and Florida SuperCon, on both Twitter and Facebook. The announcement of the Online Revelry event follows similar virtual conventions that have replaced canceled traditional shows in the past couple of months, as fans and creators alike search for a quarantine-safe alternative to the convention season of old. The most high-profile convention to be canceled to date remains San Diego Comic-Con, which was due to take place at the end of July. So far, it's unknown whether ReedPop's Star Wars Celebration, currently scheduled for Aug. 27-30 in Anaheim, will similarly be forced from the calendar. (Hollywood Reporter)

Many Americans Would Return to Theaters If New Protocols Were In Place. Consumers want sanitizing measures and staggered seating, along with White House compliance, a new THR/Morning Consult poll finds. More than half of Americans say they would take a trip to a theater within a month of their respective states meeting White House guidelines for reopening businesses -- provided that movie theaters offer staggered setting and sanitize high-traffic areas. Conversely, only 22 percent would consider making a trip to a cinema within the same time period if a state reopens early, according to a new Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll examining the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The survey of 2,200 people was conducted between April 22-26 as a number of states, including Texas, Florida and Georgia, lift shelter-in-place orders even if their locales don't satisfy benchmarks laid out by the White House earlier this month regarding the number of COVID-19 cases. Nearly a fourth of Americans, or 22 percent, said they are likely to go to a cinema once a state has satisfied White House standards. That number improves dramatically when factoring in such measures as sanitizing seats (49 percent) and reducing capacity (45 percent). Staggered seating and sanitizing high-traffic areas share equal import overall. Nearly half of Americans (49 percent to 45 percent) say they would go to the movies before their state meets Washington D.C. requirements if they can be assured of those cleaning measures. The combo of adhering by White House guidelines, sanitizing and staggered seating resulted in 53 percent to 51 percent of respondents saying they would likely to buy a movie ticket within the first month. Potential moviegoers also welcome wearing face masks; 44 percent of those polled say they would be more likely to see a movie if they were wearing protective face gear once the White House standards are met. The requirement that employees wear both a mask and gloves is also welcome. Americans between the ages of 18-29 -- a demo which includes the most frequent moviegoers -- appear to be the most inclined to return to the cinema across all categories, according to the poll. The current hope in Hollywood is that cinemas will reopen in time for Christopher Nolan's Tenet on July 17. The vast majority of theater owners are on the same page, saying they will not reopen until the latter part of June. Circuits also understand that capacity may be reduced for a certain period of time post-pandemic. A recent survey from UTA IQ, United Talent Agency's data and analytics group, found that three out of four respondents among a group of 1,100 miss seeing a movie in cinemas. (Hollywood Reporter) Imax Swings to Quarterly Loss Amid Movie Theater Closures. The giant-screen exhibitor is navigating an extended virus-induced multiplex closure in North America as it looks to its screens to reopen in China. Imax on Wednesday unveiled its first-quarter results, which were hit hard by movie theater closures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The large-format distributor on Wednesday posted a loss of $49.4 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $8.3 million, as overall revenue tumbled 56.5 percent to $34.9 million from $80.2 million in the year-ago period. The adjusted per-share loss was 48 cents, compared to an 18 cent per share profit last year, which missed a Wall Street forecast for a loss of 15 cents for the latest quarter and revenue of $42 million. The first-quarter results came amid the coronavirus outbreak, which forced a closure of all Imax screens in China around six weeks before its giant-screen theaters were shuttered in the rest of the world. Responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Imax is cutting costs and drawing a credit facility, ending the quarter with $352.3 million in cash and a $300 million credit line fully drawn. "Imax is uniquely positioned to manage through a temporary shutdown of theaters as a result of strategic planning which led to our strong financial position, valuable brand, and vast global footprint," said Imax CEO Richard Gelfond. "With our strong cash balance and continued cost discipline, we believe that we will be ready to program our network, accelerate our theater business, and once again bring audiences the world's most immersive entertainment experience when ready." Currently, Imax has all but 24 of its 1,616 giant-screen theaters across 81 countries shuttered due to public health restrictions. More to come. (Hollywood Reporter)

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