Greetings, again, movie fans. Hopefully you are getting through this COVID-19 pandemic and are finding movies to watch on TV, as well as new ones to download.
Today, the focus of my column is “when are movies going to come back?” I know there is a lot of talk at the moment about “when is sports coming back” so I thought I would do a similar column about when you might go to a real live cinema again.
The good news: movies are back! Sort of.
We received an early Christmas gift from the province recently: drive-ins are now open! As of May 15 the province allows drive-ins to open in Saskatchewan, following strict COVID-19 protocols. These requirements include increased disinfection in washrooms, the limiting of food services to contactless pick up or delivery and the ensuring of physical distancing, including between cars.
Two drive-ins have opened for weekend business in the southern part of the province: the Twilite Drive-In in Wolseley and the Prairie Dog Drive-in Theatre in Carlyle. As well the folks at Cinema Under the Stars have set up a drive-in at Agar’s Corner outside of Saskatoon to show movies on weekends.
This is probably the only good thing about this lousy pandemic: it has single-handedly revived drive in movies, not just in Saskatchewan but all around the world! Sellouts have been reported at all of the venues in Saskatchewan that have opened. (I’d like to say they are attracting “big crowds” but those aren’t the right words for it.)
Closer to home, the Clearwater Drive In Theatre in Kyle announced they will open on June 12. Jubilee Drive-in in Manitou Beach is working on a schedule for their re-opening.
As for the indoor cinemas, those remain included in Phase 4 of Re-Open Saskatchewan, to be launched at a date yet to be determined. But at least we do have the drive-ins opened up.
Here is news to share about the Capitol in North Battleford. I received a note from Tom Hutchinson of Magic Lantern Theatres along with information about the upcoming release schedule of the major studios. (I guess I should preface this by saying this isn’t set in stone.)
According to Hutchinson, the earliest the Capitol seems likely to re-open is around Aug. 1, based on the schedule of new releases available to that point. Also the indication from Hutchinson is it is unlikely the old Capitol will re-open right away due to the lack of product, so it likely will be the Capitol Annex that opens first.
As for a specific date Magic Lantern is going to keep an eye on what other chains are doing (ie. Cineplex). Hutchinson also mentioned they are going to be careful of the “Second Wave” which may shut them down again.
Here is the latest update on the North American summer release schedule as it stands now. Again this is subject to potential postponements or changes due to the COVID-19 situation, and you get a good idea of how few new releases there actually are going to be before August.
On May 15 Warner Bros. released the animated Scoob!, featuring Scooby-Doo and the gang. This is strictly a video-on-demand release at the moment.
June 12, Universal is releasing The King of Staten Island, directed by Judd Apatow. Again, this is a video on demand release only.
July 17, Warner Bros. is scheduled to release Tenet starring Robert Pattinson, John David Washington and Kenneth Branagh and directed by Christopher Nolan. I should point out there are still plenty of rumors that Warner Bros. might delay the release to mid-August, but as I write this it has not been moved yet.
July 24, Disney is scheduled to release to theatres Mulan, directed by Niki Caro and starring Donnie Yen, Yifei Liu and Jet Li. This has already been rescheduled from its original March 27 release date. Again, rumors are rampant this will go directly to video on demand streaming.
August 7, 20th Century is releasing Empty Man starring Stephen Root, and Paramount is releasing The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run in 3D.
August 14 is still the release date for Warner Bros. for Wonder Woman: 1984 starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins. (Again, lots of rumors...)
Also on that date Disney plans to release The One and Only Ivan starring Angelina Jolie and Sam Rockwell.
Aug. 21, Lionsgate release Antebellum starring Janelle Monae and Jena Malone. This is a recent change of release date.
Aug. 28, 20th Century is releasing The New Mutants. Again, this is a recent change.
Sept. 4, Paramount is releasing A Quiet Place: Part II while Sony is releasing Monster Hunter starring Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa and Ron Perlman.
That is where the summer season stands at the moment. The fall looks much better for releases, but that also depends on a lot of things (ie. no second wave).
Cross your fingers (and wash your hands). Let’s hope the curve remains kicked to the curb, and that we might see some movies at the local cinema later on this summer.