Hopefully, everyone is having a restful Labor Day weekend, but here’s some of the things that happened this weekend you may have missed.
A number of CBS TV shows will be restarting production soon after being halted by the COVID pandemic. Blue Bloods’ 11th season, Seal Team fourth season, Charmed and Nancy Drew have all been given the greenlight to restart production, while Evil is still pending. Also, the Showtime drama, Your Honor, and the CBS adventure drama series, Blood and Treasure have been given the go-ahead, but the Disney+ comedy drama, Diary of a Female President, is still on hold as well.
All of the greenlit shows are expected to start shooting in late September or early October with Blue Bloods and Evil shooting in New York, Seal Team and Diary of a Female President filming in L.A., and Charmed and Nancy Drew based in Vancouver, like many of the CW shows. The decision to restart is based on whether the productions are deemed ready to start under proper COVID-19 safety protocols. Blue Bloods, Evil and Seal Team are all on the CBS fall schedule.
CBS’ NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles have already been greenlit to return to production this week.
Hallmark Channel‘s daytime lifestyle series Home and Family is returning to production at Universal Studios this week with Season 9 premiering Monday, September 14 at 10AM. The announcement was made with a video from returning hosts Debbie Matenopoulos and Cameron Mathison.
From England comes word that the BBC Films‘ films True Things About Me and Benediction will restart production this week with Jude Law producing the former.
Also, Mission: Impossible 7 seems to be back in business after director Christopher McQuarrie posted a shot on Twitter that looks to be similar to the one where there was a stunt accident that shut down production a few weeks back.
— Mission: Impossible (@MissionFilm) September 6, 2020
Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet, starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, finally opened in about 2,800 movie theaters across America on Thursday with mixed reviews and general trepidation about the safety of returning to movie theaters. It ended up making less in North American than expected, because it only took in a little over $20 million, including Canadian box office from last week and previews from earlier in the week. The movie is doing a lot better overseas where it opened in China with $30 million to bring its total global box office after two weeks to $146 million. It’s not great, but it may be better than expected considering the circumstances around the world. The movie also hasn’t opened in a couple prime moviegoing areas, mainly because movie theaters haven’t reopened in New York City, Los Angeles or San Francisco yet.
Speaking of movie theaters, New York and Los Angeles movie theater owners have been getting more and more agitated and aggravated as gyms, bowling alleys and even casinos open in those important theatrical regions were reopened with no word whether movie theaters will join them in reopening soon. For New York, it’s even tougher since neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut have decided to reopen movie theaters leaving New Yorkers with a choice to keep waiting or just get on a train to go see a movie. Deadline wrote about the current situation on Friday.
Meanwhile, a letter from a dozen New York State arthouses was sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo about why they feel it’s time to allow them to reopen with proper safety conditions in place. Since this story wasn’t picked up by a single one of the trades, I’m including the letter to the governor below:
Dear Governor Cuomo,
We write to you today as representatives of a vital business sector in New York State’s pandemic-stricken economy: independent art house cinemas. The prudent steps you’ve taken to bring our economy back on-line safely have saved thousands of lives and have been a model for other states entering their own phased recovery. Independent movie theaters across the state have been closed since mid-March in response to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on New York, and now we’re eager to join the New York Forward movement. But we need your help.
We need the roadmap that will allow us to appropriately prepare our community spaces for safe operations in a post-COVID world. New York is one of the last states in the union with no published guidelines for safely reopening cinemas, and we’re prepared to assist in the crafting of standards that fit our unique subset of the film exhibition sector.
As you know, the National Association of Theater Owners has launched their CinemaSafe campaign and prepared a rigorous set of movie theater safety protocols with the assistance of an epidemiologist. These include limiting seating capacity, providing adequate spacing between parties inside the auditorium, mandatory mask wearing for all staff and patrons, and enhanced sanitizing protocols for all shared spaces.
Compared to the large commercial chains like Regal and AMC, our art house cinemas operate under a dramatically different business model. We can go even further to ensure the safety of patrons and staff alike. Some additional steps include installation of MERV 13 filtration in all HVAC systems, significant spacing of screening times to avoid cross-traffic between audiences, and—most importantly—the elimination of concession sales in regions where indoor dining is prohibited, thereby providing a fully masked environment for the duration of a film.
In recent interviews, you’ve stated that movie theaters are less essential and present a higher risk than places like bowling alleys, health clubs, restaurants, and even casinos. The art house cinemas of New York State have hundreds of thousands of devoted supporters and patrons that would argue otherwise. To them, a visit to their favorite art house offers immeasurable benefits to their mental health and well-being.
Our community-based, mission-driven cinemas are predominantly non-profit organizations, and all of us are tightly integrated into the communities we serve. More than just movie theaters, New York’s art houses are cultural institutions where the art of film is used to enrich people’s lives, grapple with and illuminate contemporary issues, and, of course, to entertain. In our programmatic partnerships with other non-profit organizations, art houses offer a reliable and safe community space for important conversations. And, as a consistent, nightly entertainment option, art house cinemas provide an immense multiplier of economic impact to the localities they serve. Attractions like ours will be a crucial component to the economic recovery of downtowns across the state, and re-opening now will be essential in our efforts to re-connect with the supporters that help our non-profits thrive.
While it’s true that cinemas are a congregant space, small art houses like ours present no more of a risk than religious gatherings, which are now allowed at 33% capacity, or museums, which can operate at 25% capacity. Given that in many regions of the state, large restaurants are able to seat at 50% capacity, they’re also presenting a much higher risk than our small auditoriums at 50% capacity, with masked patrons. If those other sectors are deemed a low enough risk, there’s simply no way that an art house cinema presents even a portion of the risk that they present.
The continued closure of New York’s movie theaters presents a cascading effect that damages other New York-based businesses as well, namely independent film production and distribution. Without the ability to release films in the all-important New York market, these businesses have stalled. A proper platform release for indie film distributors requires an opening in New York and Los Angeles. Without access to New York theaters, New York distributors like Magnolia Pictures, IFC Films, Kino Lorber, and Oscilloscope Laboratories will continue to struggle.
Around the world, cinemas are already providing a safe and entertaining experience for patrons. In the regions and countries where they have been allowed to re-open, there have been no documented cases of transmission of the coronavirus traced back to movie theaters. The art house cinemas of New York are prepared to join in that success story and re-open in a manner that mitigates risk and promotes a safe movie going experience for staff and patrons alike. We’re not looking for special treatment for cinemas, just accommodations equivalent to those that have already been afforded to other sectors of the state’s economy.
We thank you and your staff again for the Herculean effort to keep New Yorkers safe, and we look forward to joining the fight to help the state recover from the pandemic.
Michael Hoagland, Executive Director, Bedford Playhouse – Bedford, NY
Gina Duncan, VP of Film, The Brooklyn Academy of Music – Brooklyn
Krissy Smith, Owner, The Callicoon Theater – Callicoon
Peter Finn, Chairman, Catskill Mountain Foundation – Hunter
Dylan Skolnick, Co-Director, Cinema Arts Centre – Huntington
Brett Bossard, Executive Director, Cinemapolis – Ithaca
Karen Cooper, Director, Film Forum – Manhattan
Sean Nevison – Historic & Independent Hamilton Movie Theater – Hamilton
John Vanco, SVP/General Manager, IFC Center – Manhattan
Brian Ackerman, Programming Director, Jacob Burns Film Center – Pleasantville
Derek Reis, General Manager, Little Theatre – Rochester
Carol Sadlon, President, Program Director, The Moviehouse – Millerton
Laura deBuys, President & Executive Director, The Picture House – Pelham
Pamela Kray, Co-chairman, Programming Committee, Rosendale Theatre – Rosendale
Susan Monagan, Executive Director, The Smith Center for the Arts – Geneva
Steve Leiber, co-dir, Upstate Films – Rhinebeck & Woodstock
Not really news persé but an interesting feature on NoFilmSchool talking about the differences between time code, genlock and word clock in terms of keeping everything on set in sync. You can check that out here.