Movie Theater Chains Reckon With an Uncertain Future

By Angela Watercutter

Hello, and welcome to today's edition of The Monitor, WIRED’s entertainment news roundup. This time around, we're looking at theater chains amid the coronavirus pandemic, the new Dune adaptation, and a new Mandalorian documentary series. Let's dive in.

Cinemark Is Planning to Reopen Its Theaters July 1

If you, like us, are missing movie theaters during your coronavirus-necessitated home stay, we have some good news: Cinemark is already making plans to reopen its theaters. Per Deadline, the company’s CFO and COO Sean Gamble told investors and analysts in a Wednesday conference call that the plan is to “ramp up” to reopening some locations by July 1. Because the impact of Covid-19 varies by region, Gamble said the reopenings could happen on a state-by-state or county-by-county basis. It’s also possible that those theaters will not be open for their usual hours or during all days of the week.

The company's CEO Mark Zoradi also noted that for the first two weeks, the theaters might show older films since attendance could be low. The hope is that many locations will be up and running for the July 17-19 weekend, when Christopher Nolan’s new film Tenet is slated to open.

Meanwhile, AMC Theatres Is Facing Bankruptcy, Analysts Say

As Cinemark tries to chart a path forward, the AMC Theatres chain is facing a grim future. According to a report in Variety, financial analysts think it’s likely the company will need to file for bankruptcy and have downgraded AMC stock from “neutral” to “sell.” “Based on our view that theatres will be closed until at least August and our belief that AMC lacks the liquidity to stay afloat until that time, we expect the company will soon be faced with filing for bankruptcy,” MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler wrote in a report last week. AMC, Handler wrote, has enough cash and credit to stay liquid until June or July, but it “is the exhibition company we view with the least financial flexibility.”

Here’s Your First Look at the New Dune

As you may know, Arrival director Denis Villeneuve is making a two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s legendary sci-fi novel Dune. Now, our friends at Vanity Fair have a first-look at the new film, which stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, Zendaya as Chani, and Rebecca Ferguson and Lady Jessica. The magazine also has some details about how Villeneuve plans to bring the 1965 novel into the modern day. “Dune, this book, was written in the 20th century,” he told VF. “It was a distant portrait of the reality of the oil and the capitalism and the exploitation—the overexploitation—of Earth. Today, things are just worse. It’s a coming-of-age story, but also a call for action for the youth.” Check out the story and new photos here.

Disney+ Will Air a Mandalorian Documentary for Star Wars Day

Have you ever wondered how The Mandalorian was made? Well, you’re about to find out! Disney announced yesterday that on Star Wars Day—aka May the Fourth—its streaming service will air a new eight-part documentary titled Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian. The series will look at the filmmaking process, George Lucas’ legacy, the cast, the show’s VFX technology, the score, and the practical effects (Baby Yoda!) behind The Mandalorian. “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian is an opportunity for fans of the show to take a look inside and get to see a different perspective, and perhaps a greater understanding, of how The Mandalorian came together and some of the incredibly talented contributors throughout Season 1,” Favreau said in a statement. “We had a great experience making the show and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you.”

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