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The federal government’s recently-passed $2 trillion economic stimulus includes a $454 billion loan guarantee fund for businesses struggling from the economic blowback of the coronavirus, including movie theaters, which are facing a challenge like never before in the history of Hollywood. But it’s still unclear to me exactly what the timing will be on how the distribution of those funds will play out, and which theaters might be left standing when this pandemic eventually ends.
Today, the Criterion Collection and Janus Films have teamed up to start an arthouse relief fund for independent cinemas in the hopes that more than 150 theaters across the country will be able to pay their essential bills, including “payroll, insurance, rent, non deferrable loans, utilities, fundraising, and mortgages,” until we get through this period. Get the details below.
The government’s stimulus package expands its Small Business Administration programs in the hopes of letting smaller businesses those which have 500 or fewer employees pay their fixed costs with no revenue coming in, and in some cases, be eligible for loan forgiveness. The National Association of Theatre Owners says that a majority of cinemas in the United States are classified as small businesses. There are additional ways theaters could be helped out by this stimulus, but again, the timetable is a little murky and by the time this aid is disbursed, it may be too late for some struggling theaters.
So the Criterion Channel and Janus Films teamed up to donate $50,000 to establish the Art-House America Campaign via ComingSoon, which “aims to provide financial relief to struggling independent cinemas across the country so they can pay staff and their essential bills and survive until it is safe to reopen their doors.” Their research shows that “even in normal times the average independent theater has only one month and twenty-six days of operating cash on hand,” so they wanted to do something to help – and fast.
The fund is hoping to raise $500,000 from donors, and theaters that receive funding from this will not be able to use the money to buy equipment, invest in future programming, or pay company executives. A committee will evaluate all of the applications “based on need, with the objective of helping theaters successfully survive temporary closures,” and funds will be distributed as soon as an application is approved.
To apply, theaters must meet the following criteria:
• Be an art-house motion picture exhibitor that operates year-round.
• Have been an open and operational cinema exhibitor for at least 6 months prior to COVID-19–related closures.
• Be an independent cinema. The exhibitor cannot be publicly traded or manage more than 4 separate theaters. 75% of staff...
Actress Honor Blackman has passed away. She was 94 years old. Blackman is arguably best-known for portraying Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, along with the judo chopping Cathy Gale on TV's The Avengers. She passed away peacefully on April 5th at her home in Lewes, Sussex, of natural causes, according to her family. Blackman's family released a statement, which you can read below.'She was much loved and will be greatly missed by her two children Barnaby and Lottie, and grandchildren Daisy, Oscar, Olive, and Toby. As well as being a much-adored mother and grandmother. Honor was an actor of hugely prolific creative talent. With an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess, along with her unique voice and a dedicated work ethic, she achieved an unparalleled iconic status in the world of film and entertainment and with absolute commitment to her craft and total professionalism in all her endeavors she contributed to some of the great films and theater productions of our times.'
Honor Blackman's acting career spans six decades after starting off in the late 1940s. Her early movie roles included Diamond City and Come Die My Love, while early television shows include Probation Officer, The Vise, and Danger Man. However, it wasn't until she portrayed Elizabeth Taylor's friend in MGM's Conspirator that she started to get some real recognition. From there, her big break came in 1962 when she joined the cast of the British TV series The Avengers as Cathy Gale. This is not to be confused with the Marvel Comics characters. It's here where she learned judo and helped to bring women's self-defense to the entertainment industry.
Honor Blackman's martial arts proficiency was evident from the start, though she says she regretted doing some of her own stunts later in life due to some back issues. After two seasons on The Avengers TV series, Blackman made the controversial decision to leave and become a Bond Girl in Goldfinger. 'Everybody was quite startled when I decided to leave, especially since the program was about to go onto film and into color,' she reflected later. The actress portrayed the iconic villainous femme fatale Pussy Galore in the third Bond installment, which went on to become a global hit. It's during this time that she also scored a hit pop single titled 'Kinky Boots,' inspired by the knee-high boots she wore at the time.
Honor Blackman received acting lessons for her 15th birthday. Later that year, she began her training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Following graduation, she was an understudy in the West End play The Guinea Pig and In 1947 she appeared in the Patrick Hastings play The Blind Goddess at the Apollo Theatre. When her career finally took off, Blackman was considered to be a real-life goddess by fans.
More recently, Honor Blackman appeared in Bridget Jones's Diary, Color Me Kubrick, I, Anna, By Any Means, and You, Me, and Them. Blackman starred as...
The Third Floor, the industry's busiest visualization company in tackling superhero movies “Black Widow,” “Avengers: Endgame”, already had an advantage working remotely with real-time tools and virtual workflows when the coronavirus pandemic struck early this year. Turns out, though, that the COVID-19 epicenter was too close for comfort.
“When this crisis began, we initially faced the challenge of protecting our staff in Beijing, who were in the midst of launching our first permanent office in China,” said CEO and co-founder Chris Edwards. “When the virus started spreading beyond Wuhan, the first thing we did was send everyone home and connect them virtually...we learned a lot about the procedures for mitigating the risk of spreading the virus that we began to apply to our other offices in London, Atlanta, and LA [headquarters].
“Time was of the essence to put a highly secure, remote-working infrastructure in place,” he said, “and we needed to leverage the company infrastructure to bolster communication and function as a support group for all of our employees and their families.”
Back in LA, The Third Floor TTF found the resilience of its Beijing crew instructive. The company, which has become the go-to visualization specialist for the MCU performing rough previs of scenes, more elaborate techvis breakdowns of camera lenses, set construction, and stunts, and postvis enhancements during crunch time, used video conferencing and other methods of digital collaboration to significantly advance preparations and stay on schedule. Despite the physical isolation, however, everyone started relying on the video calls for more than just work-related advice.
“At our [LA] hub, we didn't want to take the risk of being unprepared, so we authorized our IT team to increase our internet band tenfold, and build an advanced remote login system that could enable our artists to work fluidly and securely from home,” said Edwards, who worked with IT chiefs at major studios such as Disney for advising and approving their comprehensive work-from-home solution.
But the two-week transition to a completely virtual studio only became possible with the help of industry colleagues and suppliers when California Governor Gavin Newsom and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti issued the stay-at-home order. And, as part of its mobilization effort, the company launched a TTFaid program as a resource for more than 100 employees and their families with supplies, aid, and emotional support.
“With this early foresight in February, we were prepared to roll out a set of guidelines, which I called the TTF Health Vigilance Plan, across our other studios in LA, Atlanta, and...
Disney+ has introduced the classic X-Men cartoon series avatars. The iconic TV series came out in the early 1990s and is what a lot of fans still think of when they think of the comic book characters. The series can be seen on the streaming service, but these new avatars have some believing that a new animated series could be on the way. While that has not been officially confirmed, we do know that Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige will be bringing the characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point.
X-Men characters Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey, Professor X, and Magneto can all be chosen as an avatar on Disney+. They all look like they did in the original animated series with a modern update, though Storm has a mohawk and Gambit does not have a cowl. Other than that, these are a nice addition to the avatars that Disney already had in place, which includes their original characters, Pixar characters, Star Wars, and more.
With the sudden addition of the classic X-Men characters, many fans are wondering why Disney+ chose to do it now. While it might not really mean much in terms of the future, it could prove that a lot of people are streaming the 90s series on the platform. While many were excited about what the Disney/Fox deal would do for the MCU and the big screen side of things, others were happy at the chance to see the original cartoon series again. The new avatars are not in the Marvel section of Disney+. Instead, they're in their own X-Men category.
Marvel fans have been waiting a long time to see the Fox properties all under the same MCU umbrella. Now that it's a reality, it's really only a matter of time before the X-Men and others end up being incorporated on the big screen. However, people are going to have to wait a decent amount of time before the characters get their MCU makeover. The MCU's Phase 4 will start when Black Widow is released, which should be at some point this year. The movie was originally supposed to hit theaters on May 1st, but has since been delayed indefinitely.
Disney+ and other streaming services are seeing an uptick in viewership due to everybody staying indoors. With the addition of the X-Men avatars, maybe Disney will introduce the Fox movies to the North American service. That would also be a pretty big deal for fans who have been waiting for that since November 2019 when the streaming platform launched. Regardless, Marvel fans can head over to their Disney+ profiles and give them an animated Marvel makeover right now. If you need to sign up, go visit the official Disney+ app site to sign up and enjoy a 7-day free trial to get a feel for things.
MARVEL X-MEN PROFILE AVATARS AVAILABLE NOW ON DISNEY+ pic.twitter.com/FEe5RwzTNg— Jᴇᴀɴ ɢʀᴇʏ Fᴀɴᴘᴀɢᴇ @JeanGreyFanPage April 1, 2020