By Kelly MacConomy
ALEXANDRIA, VA – It’s been weeks now since the threat of the COVID-19 Coronavirus capsized everyday life as we have known it. The film industry was almost immediately impacted. The much-anticipated release of the latest James Bond flick with the return of Daniel Craig in No Time to Die was moved from April 3 to November, 2020. Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks as well as his actress wife Rita Wilson revealed they tested positive for the virus while in Australia at work on Hanks’ latest project, a film about Elvis Presley. At this time they are now recovering back in the U.S. and the film is on hold.
A Quiet Place 2 which was to be shown prior to its release at AMC Hoffman in a back-to-back preview screening with the original A Quiet Place postponed its March 18 release to an undisclosed date.
Social distancing and industrial-grade cleaning implementation proved simply not feasible for multiplex theaters to effectively manage. Even the nearly-extinct single-screen picture show houses were reluctantly resigned to going dark while the evermore scarce drive-in theaters found renewed popularity for a brief time. With the curtains down and an exhausted cable, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Apple TV menu, what is the avid cineophile to do?
AMC On Demand to the rescue! AMC Stubs members (join for free) now have the option of screening first-run releases that would otherwise be currently showing in public theaters shut down due to the social distancing customer-count limitations and sheltering in place directives across the country. Aside from new releases and award-season/box-office favorites from the last few months, there are thousands of titles from which to chose, including family fare and kid-oriented movies.
Films can be rented or purchased. Prices vary according to category. Rentals are for a 48-hour period once play is commenced, with 30 days to start watching after a film has been ordered. Titles available which have been spotlighted by At Z Movies include Emma., Harriet, Downton Abbey, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and The Art of Racing in the Rain in addition to the top Oscar winners and contenders of 2020: Parasite, 1917, Ford v Ferrari, Joker, Jojo Rabbit, Judy, and Little Women.
Universal Pictures has already moved some of its latest releases to on demand. Trolls World Tour, set to open in the U.S. April 10, is the first film to premier in the new format initiative. NBC Comcast Universal has already made films in theatrical releases available for streaming. Emma., The Invisible Man, and The Hunt were available last month at $19.99 for a two-day rental.
Will the home streaming of Hollywood upstage the demand for traditional viewing venues? Following the challenging times of social distancing does date-night dinner and a movie prove to be obsolete? That’s actually doubtful. Nothing compares to Z big-screen thrills of bucketed, buttered popcorn, velveteen reclining chairs, previews of coming attractions, and massively sonic Dolby surround- sound theater experiences. For now and perhaps for awhile it’s likely to be a “challenged distribution landscape”, to quote Jeff Shell, CEO of NBC Universal. Meantime, nuke that Orville Redenbacher, lay back in the pleather Barcalounger, crank up the speaker volume, and press PLAY.
Here are the films released recently and in coming weeks with their drop dates:
March 24 Birds of Prey, Bloodshot and Dolittle
March 27 The Call of the Wild and Downhill
March 30 Sonic the Hedgehog
March 31st Bad Boys for Life
April 7 Like a Boss and The Last Full Measure
April 10 Trolls World Tour
April 14 Underwater
April 28th The Photograph
May 5 Justice League Dark: Apokolips