No one knows when our current situation will come to an end - and experts have emphasized that the timeline will be set not by the government, but by the virus - but at some point, the economy has to reopen. As Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated, there is a tipping point on lockdown measures in the United States.
Hollywood studios probably do not know any better than anyone else when moviegoers will be able to return to normal, but we are now seeing where they are placing their bets. AMC theaters are hoping to re-open by mid-June, while studios are starting to reschedule some of their tentpoles for late summer in anticipation of a return to normal, or at least normal enough to return to movie theaters.
Paramount Studios for its part is gambling that families will be ready to get out of their homes and return to theaters by July 31st, 2020, which is when the studio has rescheduled The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. The studio, however, is being more conservative with Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick, which originally had a June release date. It’s being pushed all the way to December 23rd, knocking out an untitled Chris Pratt film, which has yet to reschedule its date.
However, I really like what Paramount is doing with A Quiet Place Part 2 by scheduling it for Labor Day weekend on September 4th. Typically, Labor Day is one of the slowest weekends of the year at the box office, but Paramount is betting that audiences will be itching to get into theaters that weekend ahead of what we all hope will be a return to school for students.
It’s worth noting that a couple of studios have not yet abandoned their earlier summer dates. Disney’s Soul is still on the docket for June 19th, while Ryan Reynolds’ still has a the 4th of July premiere date set for Free Guy. Hopefully, we will all feel free enough to get back into theaters by Independence Day. The Wonder Woman sequel, meanwhile, has been reset from June to. August 14th, as Warner Brothers also anticipates an all-clear by August.
Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Show: The Secret History of Hollywood
Where You Can Stream It: The podcasting app of your choice.
The Pitch: The Secret History of Hollywood is the most compelling, immersive, and emotional podcast I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Each season consists of deep dives into a major Hollywood figure, tracing its subject’s rise to prominence and giving incredible insight into their home lives, painting a portrait so captivating and well-rounded that biographies or books on the subjects could only dream to achieve.
Why It’s Essential Quarantine Listening: I’ve been thinking about this podcast a lot since I first stumbled across it several years ago, but I think it’s especially appropriate to recommend it right now because some of its episodes are incredibly lengthy – many clock in around an hour and a half, but some of them stretch to four, six, or even nine hours long. Yes, really. Some of you may scoff, but isn’t being in quarantine the perfect time to give a long-form podcast a chance?
Adam Roche, the voice behind the show, had no background in sound editing or sound production when he got started, but he could have fooled me: the series reminds me of an old-time radio show, complete with sound effects and Roche doing voices as he plays the people in a given scene. I realize that may sound cheesy, and it absolutely would be in less-capable hands. But trust me: Roche’s mellifluous voice and incredibly researched accounts are perfect for this type of storytelling.
The show has brought me to tears multiple times over the years, and I think a huge part of the reason for that is because of the long episode lengths. Like a great TV series you never want to end, you get to spend hours and hours with the subjects of these episodes and build emotional connections to them, so when they they experience hardships, a project goes wrong, or they lose a loved one, the results can be unexpectedly powerful.
The show has earned the attention of Hollywood vets like Peter Ramsey Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mark Gatiss Sherlock, Game of Thrones, the latter of whom lends his own terrific voice to introductions of the most recent season, which covers the prolific producer Val Lewton Cat People, The Body Snatcher, The Ghost Ship. I knew nothing about Lewton or his work before I listened to the eleven episode season, but by the end, I feel like not only do I know all about him, but I feel I’ve experienced his highs and lows right alongside him. It’s truly spellbinding stuff, and it comes with my absolute highest recommendation.