- The National Association of Theater Owners warned that despite authorization for cinemas to reopen in certain states, many will not feasibly be able to. In Georgia, theaters can reopen as early as Monday, but local owners have refused and are simply not prepared to.
- Many theaters still need time to reassess finances, rehire staff, ramp-up cleaning measures, and rethink seating arrangements to maintain social distancing.
- New film releases are also still several weeks away and theaters aren’t likely to release those projects if they can’t fill seats.
- Morning Consult survey found that a third of U.S. adults say they won’t be comfortable going to out of home entertainment for another 3-6 months.
Theater Owners Warn Against Reopening Too Soon
While some states are moving to reopen businesses, The National Association of Theatre Owners warned Wednesday that most cinemas won’t be opening right away, even if they’re legally permitted to do so.
“Until the majority of markets in the U.S. are open, and major markets in particular, new wide release movies are unlikely to be available,” the group said in a statement. “As a result, some theaters in some areas that are authorized to open may be able economically to reopen with repertory product; however, many theaters will not be able to feasibly open.”
The statement from theater owners came in response to news that a handful of Southern states are teaming up to lift some restrictions currently in place amid the coronavirus pandemic. This includes places like Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who has approved the broadest rollback of orders in a state so far, plans to reopen restaurants and movie theaters as early as Monday. Businesses like gyms, bowling alleys, and hair salons, are permitting to reopen in the state Friday.
Kemp’s decision was met with backlash from local mayors who are urging people to continue to stay home and business owners who have vowed to remain closed. It even faced criticism from celebrities like rapper Cardi B, who urged fans to prioritize “HEALTH OVER CAPITALISM!”
On Tuesday, President Trump also expressed concerns about Kemp’s plans, telling reporters, “I told the governor of Georgia Brian Kemp that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia.”
Still, the president said he wants Kemp to “do what he thinks is right” but warned that if he sees “something totally egregious,” he will step in. The President’s remarks came as a surprise to some given the support he’s shown protestors in other states pushing to reopen their local economies.
Why Theaters Cant Reopen Quickly
According to Deadline, big chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark, confirmed that they won’t be opening up anytime soon. AMC is reportedly eyeing early June openings, Cinemark is considering early July, and Regal hasn’t officially landed on a date yet.
So then you’re probably wondering: what theaters are reopening in Georgia? Well, it will likely only be drive-ins and independent theater owners who own their own properties. For many exhibitors who have abatements in their rental leases, it’s just not in their best financial interest to reopen if there isn’t a new supply of products from major studios.
And studios won’t want to release their newest projects if they can’t fill seats. As of now, there aren’t any new movie releases slated until mid-June, when films like The King of Staten Island and Fatale are set to drop. Even more people have their eyes on films dropping in July, like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Disney’s Mulan.
Some indie studios have already said they won’t allow their films to be exhibited in Georgia theaters that open next week. “We will not be participating in that,” said Tom Quinn, CEO of Neon, the distributor of Oscar-winner “Parasite” and “I, Tonya.”
“I hope people do the sensible thing and self-isolate,” he continued.
Chris Escobar, the owner of the Plaza Theater in Atlanta, told Variety, “You have to have movies to show.”
“Second, you have to have people willing to come in,” he added before stressing that there was no reassurance from public health authorities that it is safe to reopen. “I don’t want to be that movie theater, where the outbreak in Atlanta is all related to the f–king Plaza Theatre,” he said. “I don’t think anybody does.”
Reopening theaters also isn’t something that can just be done quickly since it means theaters will have to reassess their workforce and finances.
“We are not going to open on Monday, and we don’t have any plans as to when we would,” Brandt Gully, the owner of The Springs Cinema & Taphouse near Atlanta said to Variety. “Even if we wanted to, we wouldn’t be ready. It just doesn’t feel socially responsible to me to go out there to try to grab a few bucks.”
Theaters have been closed since about mid-March, so reopening means they’ll need to rehire or find new staff. However, at this time it’s really unclear how many workers are needed and what the demand for movies will be like.
According to a Morning Consult survey, about a third of U.S. adults say they won’t be comfortable going to out of home entertainment for another 3-6 months, and about a quarter say they wouldn’t go for at least another six months.
On top of that, theaters will also have to rethink ticket practices, additional cleaning measures, and seating arrangements to maintain social distancing.
For some theater owners, reopening right now just doesn’t feel like the right move. “No one is demanding this,” Escobar told Variety. “Even the people saying, ‘I need a haircut,’ they’re not saying, ‘I need to go see a movie.’”
Though theaters can reopen in Georgia soon, film productions are still on hold as of now. Marvel movies, show like “The Walking Dead,” and hundreds of other projects are filmed in Georgia thanks to the state’s generous 30% tax credit.
But in a statement provided to Variety, the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office said the state was “cautiously working on plans” for a return to normal operations, which could include a testing system.
“We will continue to work with studios to make decisions based on what is best for public health and the safety of our terrific crews here, not what is happening in other states,” Lee Thomas, the director of the state film office, said.
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Hollywood Reporter) (Variety)
Lil Nas X Starts Bail Project Fund After Releasing Prison-Set Video for “Industry Baby”
The singer said he is working to address “the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community.“
Lil Nas X Starts Bail X Fund
Following the release of his latest single “Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X launched a partnership with The Bail Project that aims to cover bail funds for people across the country.
The music video for the song took place in the fictional “Montero State Prison,” a reference to the title of his upcoming album and the singer’s real name. While Lil Nas X spent much of his time online promoting the video with memes, he put a pause on the jokes Saturday to announce the Bail X Fund and bring attention to issues regarding incarceration in the United States.
“On a serious note, I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family,” Lil Nas X tweeted. “And the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community. That’s why I teamed up with @bailproject to create the Bail X Fund.”
The Bail Project aims to eliminate cash bail in the U.S. It has posted over $47 million in free bail for over 17,000 low-income people across the country. It also provides post-release support and services to those who need them.
“Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance,” Lil Nas X wrote in a statement on the fund’s website. “But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail.”
The Fight to End Cash Bail
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, like many issues within the criminal justice system, cash bail disproportionately harms Black Americans. The group claims that Black and brown defendants are somewhere between 10% to 25% “more likely than white defendants to be detained pretrial or to have to pay money bail.” It also argues that Black men are 50% more likely to be detained pretrial than white defendants, and says Black and brown defendants generally “receive bail amounts that are twice as high as bail set for white defendants – and they are less likely to be able to afford it.”
Lil Nas X said he is “doing something” to address these issues and invited his fans to join him. He hopes that his efforts will encourage other artists to use their platforms to likewise speak about these injustices.
“Ending cash bail is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time,” he wrote. “Donate what you can to the Bail X Fund. Let’s bring people home & let’s fight for freedom and equality.”
A donation tab was attached to the song’s music video, where it says nearly $44,000 has been raised for the Bail X Fund. The video has blown up on YouTube, racking up over 31 million views. It remains the number one trending video in music as of Monday morning.
The song has likewise found success on Spotify, where it debuted at number two and eventually reached the number one spot.
Fire at Home Reportedly Owned by Beyoncé and Jay-Z Under Arson Investigation
Officials said there were no injuries or evacuations during the fire, which was put out in around two hours.
Fire Breaks Out at Famed Couple’s Reported Residence
A Wednesday fire at a historic home in New Orleans, Louisiana believed to be owned by music titans Beyoncé and Jay-Z is being investigated as a possible arson.
On Thursday, a New Orleans Police Department spokesperson confirmed to multiple outlets that it had received a tip about a suspicious person in the area. Further details about the suspicious person and the cause of the fire have not been revealed.
Neighbors told local media that there is an unlocked gate on the property that outsiders sometimes use to gain entry.
Officials told The New York Post that it took 22 firefighters over two hours to extinguish the blaze, with no reported injuries or evacuations. The extent of the damage currently remains unclear, but a spokesperson told The Post that given the age of the residence, the situation could have been far more severe.
“If [the firefighters] didn’t get there when they did, it could have been much worse,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a historic home.”
About the Home
The building was first built in the Garden District neighborhood of the city in the 1920s as a church. It was later used as a ballet school and then became a high-end residence in 2000. Realtor.com says it is currently valued at $3 million.
The home was purchased in 2015 by Sugarcane Parkin LLC. According to The Washington Post, this company has the same registered address as other entities owned by Beyoncé. Sugarcane Parkin is also allegedly managed by Beyoncé’s mother, Celestine Lawson, better known as Tina Knowles.
Representatives for the “Lemonade” singer and her husband have not issued any public statements about the incident, nor have they confirmed that the home is owned by the couple.
In March of this year, storage units in Los Angeles belonging to Beyonce were burglarized. According to TMZ, over a million dollars of goods were stolen, including expensive dresses and handbags.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Post) (NOLA)
Cleveland’s Baseball Team Changes Name From Indians to Guardians
The move marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans.
Name Change Announced
Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team said Friday that it will change its name after the 2021 season from the Indians to the Guardians.
The team announced the name change with a just over two-minute video narrated by actor Tom Hanks.
“You see, there’s always been a Cleveland — that’s the best part of our name,” Hanks says in the clip. “And now it’s time to unite as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and this city.”
This marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans.
Despite long-running calls to change racist and offensive team names — including the Washington Redskins — such campaigns did not gain significant momentum until the nationwide racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd.
Officials behind the Cleveland team first pledged to change the name last year and previously removed the “Chief Wahoo” logo, a caricature of a Native American character, from its uniforms following the 2018 season.
It toyed with several options before ultimately landing on Guardians, which draws from Cleveland’s architectural history.
“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” team owner and chairman Paul Dolan said in a news release.
“Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”
“‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
Guardians will be the fifth name in franchise history, joining Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-14), and Indians (1915-2021).