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Marketing a Hollywood summer event pic is never an easy task. But this year, studios don’t just have to worry about the competition — they have to get people back in the habit of going to the movies after a devastating pandemic.
To that end, Hollywood and theater owners are supporting a variety of public service messaging efforts featuring high-profile talent. The effort also includes an in-theater gathering for press May 19 where studios heads and executives will pitch their upcoming slates and share footage. (It wouldn’t be a surprise if directors and other talent take part.) At least 10 studios are slated to participate.
“After a year-and-a-half of theater closures, restrictions, consumer confusion and moving slates, this event is meant to be a joyful celebration of the industry that we all love — one that includes entertainment press gathering together to celebrate the reopening of theaters nationwide this summer. There is a lot to be excited about and much for audiences to look forward to this summer,” The Big Screen Is Back organizing committee said in a statement.
The event and accompanying lunch will take place at AMC Century City, and is part of the “Big Screen Is Back” initiative, which kicked off at the end of the Academy Awards preshow with a PSA starring Matthew McConaughey and featuring some of the 150,000-plus workers impacted by yearlong cinema closures.
The campaign is being supported by a broad coalition of Hollywood executives, the National Association of Theatre Owners, the Motion Picture of Association, cinema circuits and studios. It is is being spearheaded by veteran marketing executives including Terry Curtin, CAA’s Megan Crawford and Megan Colligan of Imax.
In addition, studios are independently mounting their own PSA-like spots. Universal and AMC Theatres partnered on a Vin Diesel and F9 piece promoting the return to theaters. That was followed days later by a sizzle reel from Disney’s Marvel Studios, likewise urging fans to support cinemas and featuring new footage from its upcoming films, including Black Widow, which opens July 9.
“We’ve had a long break, so we’re trying to remind people of the special experience of the big screen and that it is coming back,” says Universal chief marketing officer Michael Moses. “It’s great to have all the content at home, but you can’t have a crowd-pleaser at home because there is no crowd.”
Presently, 63 percent of theaters in North America are open. Hollywood is hoping that number jumps significantly by Memorial Day, when both Disney’s Cruella and Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II open in what could be a turning point
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