California Cinemas Might Reopen This Weekend

Movie theaters in California might start reopening as early as June 12th, reports GeekTyrant. Only days after the state’s Department of Public Health announced its guidelines for safely resuming movie and TV productions during the pandemic, now comes a similar set of recommendations for movie theaters.

The rules for cinemas are fairly strict. Visitors will have to wear face coverings when entering and exiting theaters or when obtaining refreshments at the concession stand. Furthermore, the number of attendees will be limited to 25% of theater capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower. Seating in cinemas will be changed up to ensure maximum physical distancing between viewers.

Massive cinema chains like AMC are getting desperate to reopen. National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) optimistically expects that 90% of the global theatrical marketplace will be open by the time Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller Tenet opens in July. However, the fact remains that the number of COVID-19 cases in California is still growing, partially because of the reopening of public venues. At the time of this writing, there were over 140 000 coronavirus cases in California. In last week alone, the state averaged over 2800 new cases and almost 70 new deaths per day. To tell the truth, when it comes to reopening cinemas, we wouldn’t be holding our breath just yet.

Sony Announces New IMAX Releases

Here’s something to cheer you up: Sony announced plans to release a number of its upcoming blockbuster movies in IMAX theaters. That is, of course, if any movie theatres still exist by this time next year. Movies slated for IMAX treatment include Ghostbusters: Afterlife, superhero films Morbius and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and an action-adventure film Uncharted. While most of these titles were initially coming out this year, Sony moved all of them to 2021.

Jason Reitman‘s Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a sequel/reboot featuring Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, Paul Rudd, and Finn Wolfhard in lead roles. Initially slated for July 10, 2020, the studio delayed it to March 5, 2021. Superhero film Morbius about a living vampire played by Jared Leto is coming out on March 19, 2021, instead of July 10, 2020. Venom: Let There Be Carnage features Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Naomie Harris, and Michelle Williams in leading roles. Motion actor Andy Serkis’ debut as a blockbuster director is presently coming out on June 25, 2021, instead of October 2, 2020. As for Uncharted, a film stuck in development hell for a decade, Ruben Fleischer will direct Antonio Banderas, Tom Holland, and Mark Wahlberg. Uncharted is coming to theatres on July 16, 2021.

Low Budget Horror The Wretched Breaks Box Office Records 

Here’s the final, tiny bit of good news before the weekend: a low-budget horror flick titled The Wretched has been breaking box office records throughout May. Its combined gross is currently over $1 million, and it stayed on top of the weekend box office for five consecutive weeks. This is something we haven’t seen since Black Panther in 2018.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t make the news. Any other year, grossing a million dollars in a month would have been a box office failure. But 2020 isn’t your average year. Between the pandemic and the recession, cinemas and the entertainment industry are in a wringer. The Wretched gained its earnings mostly through drive-in cinemas that are receiving a very welcome revival in the time of the social distancing.

The Wretched follows a kid (played John-Paul Howard) who inadvertently discovers an ancient witch lurking in a house next door, preying upon children. Directed by Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce, The Wretched premiered on May 1. Its production company, IFC Films simultaneously released it both in select cinemas (mostly drive-ins) and video-on-demand.