- “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins fears the pandemic could cause movie-going to be lost “forever.”
- Jenkins’ own “Wonder Woman 1984” is among many big releases that have been delayed due to the pandemic.
- Last week, Cineworld, the world’s second-largest cinema owner, announced the temporary closure of its 536 Regal Cinemas.
- Jenkins warned that streaming could dominated the movie industry and make cinemas unprofitable.
- But she was adamant her film would shun the straight-to-streaming trend and appear in movie theaters first.
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Patty Jenkins, director of “Wonder Woman,” has painted a bleak outlook for the future of movie theatres — and for film buffs as a whole.
“We could lose movie theater-going forever,” she told Reuters on Wednesday.
The release of own upcoming “Wonder Woman 1984,” along with many other major movies, has been delayed because of the pandemic, and cinemas around the world have closed their doors. Many face bankruptcy.
Jenkins said large movie studios may in future focus on developing films straight for streaming, pulling back on theater releases — this could cause the industry to “crumble,” she warned.
“I don’t think any of us want to live in a world where the only option is to take your kids to watch a movie in your own living room,” she told Reuters, “and not have a place to go for a date.”
She added: “This will not be a reversible process.”
Cineworld, the world’s second-largest cinema chain, announced the temporary closure of its 536 Regal Cinemas in the US on Monday — a move which will affect around 40,000 employees.
Smaller businesses are under threat, too. The US National Association of Theatre Owners said in September that 69% of small and mid-sized cinema companies could be forced to file for bankruptcy or shutter permanently.
Studios keep pushing back the release dates of major blockbusters because the pandemic has made production difficult. And even if movies are ready as planned, many cinemas — including all theatres in New York City and Los Angeles, the country’s largest cinema markets — remain closed. Those that are open are operating at limited capacity because of social-distancing measures.
Some of 2020’s big releases have already gone direct to streaming: “Mulan” launched straight onto Disney Plus, for example.
Jenkins’ own film “Wonder Woman 1984” has been delayed three times during the pandemic, and is now set to debut on December 25. “Fast and Furious 9” has also been pushed back a whole year beyond its original release date. “The Batman” and the new James Bond installment “No Time To Die” have been delayed, too.
Jenkins was adamant that “Wonder Woman 1984” would shun the straight-to-streaming trend and appear in movie theaters first. “I really hope that we are able to be one of the very first ones to come back and bring that into everyone’s life,” she said.
Last month, Jenkins joined directors including James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, and Martin Scorsese, as well as cinema owners and movie producers, in an appeal to the US government to support cinemas financially during the pandemic. More than 70 producers and directors told the US Senate and House of Representatives in a letter that without funds, “theaters may not survive the impact of the pandemic.”
This would have wide-reaching effects on the global movie industry: The US is the world’s biggest cinema market with the highest box-office revenues.
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