Amazon Studios to Aid Efforts to Boost Vaccinations in L.A. County

Amazon Studios and healthtech provider Carbon Health are teaming up to bring pop-up mobile vaccination sites to communities across Los Angeles. On Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18, and continuing across the summer, multiple vaccination sites will offer first and second dose vaccinations. This collaboration is designed to help make vaccines more accessible to underserved populations during a pivotal moment in the pandemic.

The first pop-up opened July 8 at Brooklyn’s Bread & Life. This initiative will continue in Los Angeles on July 17 at Maywood Riverfront Park Health and Wellness Fair and at American Family Funding and on July 18 at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center. Second doses will be administered four weeks later. It is estimated Amazon Studios and Carbon Health will administer up to 150 COVID-19 vaccinations per day.

Cinedigm Gets $2.2 Million PPP Loan Forgiveness

Cinedigm announced that it has received forgiveness of approximately $2.2 million of loan proceeds and accrued interest previously carried under the federal Paycheck Protection Program established by the government to help small businesses affected by shutdowns during the pandemic.

On July 7, Cinedigm received notice from East West Bank PPP, the lender of its loan, that the U.S. Small Business Administration approved the forgiveness in its entirety, and that East West Bank has applied the funds and paid off the principal and interest of the loan in full.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We are very pleased to receive the notice of forgiveness,” Gary Loffredo, chief operating officer and general counsel of Cinedigm, said in a statement.

Loffredo said not having to pay back the loan (including interest) helped Cinedigm move into a “very solid position” now financially with virtually no debt and a fast-growing streaming business.

“We remain grateful for the financial support that the CARES Act provided in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Comscore: Nearly 90% of Movie Theater Locations Open Globally

The latest box office figures from Comscore show nearly 90% of movie theater locations are now open globally for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“At Comscore, we´ve been privileged to witness firsthand how our partners in the global exhibition community have fought daily against the adversity of the pandemic and recovery has been remarkable,” Arturo Guillén, EVP and global managing director for Comscore Movies, said in a statement. “The latest box office openings and revenue show that throughout the world, consumers are clamoring to be back at the movies in their preferred theaters.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Films such as Universal’s F9, which has thus far generated more than $500 million worldwide, along with Paramount’s with A Quiet Place Part II, Disney’s Cruella, Warner Bros.’ The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and Lionsgate’s The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, have collectively generated more than $1.3 billion in global box office revenue, according to Comscore.

“As the studios continue to ramp up the rollout of their most-anticipated films, audiences are showing up at their local cinemas to enjoy the big screen experience,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst, Comscore, said in a statement. “Blockbuster films shown in a movie theater become ‘must see’ events that no matter where you live, speak the international language of cinema to like-minded movie fans around the world.”

Discovery+ Launches Doc Series ‘Surge at Mount Sinai’ July 1

The non-fiction streaming service Discovery+ will exclusively bow the documentary series The Surge at Mount Sinai globally July 1.

The series, narrated by Jon Bon Jovi, with a track from Billie Eilish, follows three healthcare workers, two intimate patient journeys and experts from across the hospital in one of the world’s largest healthcare systems in the United States during an unprecedented global pandemic. With intimate access to those on the front lines, the film chronicles the race against time as New York City became the global epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak and New York was experiencing more than 350 deaths per day.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We are honored to shine a light on the heroes who came to the world’s rescue during an unprecedented global pandemic,” Lisa Holme, group SVP of content and commercial strategy at Discovery, said in a statement. “At Discovery+, we take pride in bringing our subscribers the best real-life stories and there is no more important story from the past year than following the trials of our healthcare workers.”

“This film explores the emotional journey of individuals who responded to the pandemic in unimaginable ways,” stated David A. Feinberg, SVP, chief marketing and communications officer at Mount Sinai Health System, dean of marketing and communications at Icahn School of Medicine, and co-executive producer on the documentary. “The heroism and innovative spirit by the scientific and medical community is awe-inspiring. The unprecedented challenges that we faced, the many lives that we saved, and the scientific breakthroughs that were identified gives the viewer a unique view of how we found our way through one of our darkest periods. We hope audiences will be moved and inspired by the bold actions taken by the heroes in this film and will come away understanding who we are as an organization. We are forever changed by this period, and our relentless pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and answers to the world’s most complex health challenges continues.”

“Our purpose for this film was to give the world a glimpse into what life was like for the heroic frontline workers during the height of the pandemic,” Peter Maiden, founder and CEO of production studio Convicts and executive producer on the documentary, said in a statement. “These individuals went above and beyond and dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and energy to saving the lives of NYC residents. Capturing their perseverance through the pandemic felt like the most important story that could be told during this time. We are grateful for Mount Sinai for the opportunity to engage with their staff and excited to partner with discovery+ to bring these stories to the forefront. We hope the film will inspire audiences to find the goodness in humanity, even in the dark, and to keep purpose at the heart of all they do.”

Study: One-Third of Consumers Believe Entertainment Habits Forever Changed by Pandemic

One-third of consumers believe entertainment habits will be forever changed by the pandemic, according to a new study.

The United Talent Agency study, “Forever Changed: Covid-19’s Lasting Impact on the Entertainment Industry,” also found 84% of consumers spent more time with entertainment during the pandemic with more than two-thirds (67%) saying they intend to spend more time with entertainment post COVID-19 than they did prior.

During the pandemic, seven in 10 became “Entertainment Explorers,” turning to new formats, platforms or genres, while half became “Fervent Fans,” more engaged with entertainment and strengthening their fandom.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Compared to pre-pandemic behavior, one-third plan to subscribe to or use more entertainment platforms, a quarter plan to consume more genres/types of stories and a third plan to consume more international content or stories with diverse voices.

During the pandemic, a quarter started consuming an entertainment format that they didn’t prior and a third subscribed to or used more entertainment platforms than they would have otherwise.

Post-COVID, 71% said they plan to use multiple SVOD platforms, compared with 70% during the pandemic. More than half (56%) added at least one SVOD platform during the pandemic.

Among subscriptions started during the pandemic, Apple TV+ was the leader (48%) with Netflix (46%), Disney+ (46%), Hulu (39%) and Amazon Prime (34%) following, respectively. Among subscriptions used during the pandemic, Netflix led at 72% followed by Amazon Prime (54%), Disney+ (51%), Hulu (47%), HBO Max (36%), Apple TV+ (30%), Discovery+ (23%), Peacock (17%) and Paramount+ (12%), respectively.

The UTA-fielded study polled 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 18-54 in partnership with automated research company SightX.

Report: 83% of Consumers Plan to Maintain, Increase Home Entertainment Spending

More than a year after the start of the  COVID-19 crisis, a majority of consumers are beginning to turn the page on the pandemic as vaccinations increase and a sense of normalcy returns, according to new data from Tremor Video.

Conducted in March and comprised of surveys with a nationally representative sample of 893 respondents in the United States, the research found that 56% of consumers feel optimistic about the year ahead and 60% predict a return toward normality within the year.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

According to the data, 83% of consumers plan to either maintain or increase their current spend levels when returning to a more normal life, on average across categories. Consumers report that they plan to either maintain or increase their spending at the highest rates for the following categories: groceries (92%), beauty & personal care (86%), consumer electronics (84%), home & garden (84%) and home entertainment (83%).

With this likely increase in spending comes promising news for brands with brick-and-mortar dimensions of their businesses, as 84% of consumers plan on shopping in-person during the year, with 29% reporting that they will do all of their shopping in-person and 23% reporting that they will do most of their shopping in-person with some online shopping.

Although the research suggests that consumers are eager to resume their pre-COVID activities, their enthusiasm for this return to more normal lifestyles does not necessarily mean that their rates of TV engagement will decline as a result. In fact, most consumers are likely to engage with connected TVs at comparable or higher rates as the pandemic dissipates. Over the next six months, 86% of consumers plan to watch live TV at the same or increased rates, 88% plan to watch the same or higher amounts subscription-based VOD, and 81% plan to maintain or increase their viewing of ad-supported VOD.

“After a long period of being homebound, consumers are feeling positive about the future, as they look to resume activities like dining out, traveling and in-store shopping, all of which should give advertisers a renewed sense of confidence in the months ahead,” Terence Scroope, VP of media insights and analytics at Tremor Video, said in a statement. “In parallel, our study suggests that consumers plan to increase their time with CTV content, reinforcing just how essential the medium will continue to be for advertisers as they look to fine-tune their 2021 media strategies.”

Report findings include that since March 2020, TV viewing has spiked considerably, with 61% of consumers saying they have watched more TV than before the outbreak of the pandemic. Over the next six months, increased engagement with both paid and free TV streaming will be most pronounced among younger age demos (18-44s) and higher income ($100,000 or more, annually) demos

Consumers report that they will be more supportive of local businesses with most (59%) planning to continue shopping locally. Most (58%) consumers have adopted new behaviors thanks to increased time shopping online during COVID; this is especially prevalent among the 18-34 age group.

 

Imax Corp. Posts Record-Breaking Weekend Box Office — in China

While U.S. movie exhibitors continue to languish from government-mandated closures and wary moviegoers due to the pandemic, Imax just recorded its best-ever weekend box office in China — where the coronavirus outbreak began.

The 3D exhibitor soared to its best-ever opening weekend for the Chinese New Year holiday, grossing $25 million through Feb. 14 as the country kicked off its pinnacle box office period. Despite a continued capacity limitation of at least 75% across China, Imax grew opening weekend box office 45% over its record-breaking 2019, when Chinese cinemas were last open for the holiday.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Shot entirely with Imax cameras, the comedy franchise film Detective Chinatown 3 led the way with $23.5 million — Imax’s biggest three-day opening weekend ever for a Chinese film. Imax captured 6% of the film’s weekend box office, despite accounting for only 1% of overall screens. Friday, Feb. 12 marked the first time Imax generated more than 1 million admissions in a single day in any global market — China or otherwise.

In a strategic effort to embrace local-language filmmaking, grow its network, and strengthen its brand in China, Imax continues to make a significant comeback at the Chinese box office. The exhibitor has grossed $126 million since theaters first reopened in China last July — with box office up 28% in December and 140% in January — despite continued capacity limitations across the country and a lack of new Hollywood movies in the market.

The tally represents 44% of the comparable U.S. weekend box office total of $286.7 million from July 2020 through January 2021.

“Given our recent success at the Chinese box office, we suspected our fans would turn out for Chinese New Year in a big way, but these early returns have blown away even our most optimistic projections,” CEO Rich Gelfond said in a statement. “With record-breaking box office, strong market share, and multiple releases filmed in Imax, this is an important milestone on our road to recovery at the global box office and our long, successful history in China.”

For the first time, the Chinese New Year slate featured an additional two Imax releases, including A Writer’s Odyssey, which includes more than an hour of exclusive and expanded aspect ratio content. New Gods: Nezha Reborn” marked the debut of a new animated franchise. All three films scored high with audiences, with Maoyan scores exceeding 8.8.

“Imax is on the leading edge of the strong box office recovery in China, with audiences emerging from the pandemic and seeking out the most immersive theatrical experience in the world,” said Edwin Tan, CEO of Imax China.

AMC Theatres Says It Will Be Out of Cash After January

AMC Entertainment, parent to the world’s largest theatrical chain, AMC Theatres, said it has received $100 million in stopgap funding to remain afloat financially. The deal with Mudrick Capital Management, disclosed in a Dec. 11 regulatory filing, pays the investment firm 15% in annual interest in exchange for 13.7 million AMC shares.

With coronavirus infections and deaths spiking across the country, movie theaters remain either shuttered (Regal Cinemas) or operating under limited capacity such as AMC and Cinemark. AMC said theatrical attendance has declined 92% since the previous-year period.

The chain said that in the absence of additional liquidity, it anticipates that its cash resources will be depleted in January 2021. To remain viable through next year, AMC estimates its needs approximately $750 million of additional liquidity to fund cash requirements, which include $400 million in deferred rent obligations. The chain is burning through $125 million monthly to maintain operations.

In addition to the pandemic, AMC blamed its fiscal situation and future on delayed studio releases and Warner Bros.’ decision to release all movies concurrently in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service.

“[The] delays of major movie releases, or the direct or simultaneous release of movie titles to the home video or streaming markets in lieu of theater exhibition, have led to theater closures, prevented the opening of theaters in major markets and have had, and are expected to continue to have in the future, a material adverse impact on theater attendance levels and our business,” AMC said in the filing. “These challenges have been exacerbated by the announcement by Warner Bros. that its entire studio film slate for 2021 will move to simultaneous release, which may result in other studios adopting a similar strategy.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

As of Nov. 30, AMC was operating at 404 of its 594 U.S. theaters, with limited seating capacities and during limited opening hours. The company’s shuttered domestic screens include theaters in some of its major markets, such as New York City and in California. AMC is operating at 108 of its 359 leased and partnership international theaters, with limited seating capacities and during limited opening hours. Through Nov. 30, AMC said it has seen an 86% decline in international moviegoers compared to last year.

“Our current cash burn rates are not sustainable,” AMC said. We currently estimate that if our attendance levels do not significantly improve during … 2021, then we believe the liquidity shortfall would be greater than the estimated $750 million minimum shortfall, which if not addressed would prevent us from continuing as a going concern.”

Survey: One-Third of Consumers Signed Up for a New TV Service Since Summer

From July to November, one-third of consumers in Hub’s “Predicting the Pandemic” research survey had signed up for a new TV service, up six points from the summer.

The second, just-released wave of the study shows how the pandemic has accelerated the already well-established shift to online consumption of entertainment content.

During that same period, one in four canceled a TV service, up five points. All told, 40% had made at least some change to their TV subscriptions by November, nine points higher than in the summer.

The top four streaming services saw the strongest net increases among those who either added or dropped. Netflix and Disney+ were the most likely to see a net gain in November with half of those who made changes to their TV services adding Netflix and one-third adding Disney+. Meanwhile, only single-digit percentages dropped each of these services.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

On the other hand, consumers were much more likely to drop a live TV service than to add one. Half of those who made TV service changes dropped a live TV streaming service (such as YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV or Sling TV). One-third dropped a traditional cable, satellite or telco TV subscription. Fewer than one in five added either type of service.

Use of free, ad-supported TV platforms (AVODs) continued to accelerate, including the newly launched, free version of Peacock. AVOD use continued the upward trend seen in the summer with the percent using each major service up since July (and use in July was higher than February, before the start of the crisis). Peacock, released to the general public in mid-July, has quickly become the third-most watched AVOD service, behind the Roku Channel and Tubi.

With many films skipping theatrical release due to COVID, consumer purchase of first-run movies from streaming platforms has jumped significantly. One-fourth of all TV consumers in November said they’d purchased a first-run movie from a streamer, up from fewer than one in five over the summer.

Among those who currently owned a Smart TV, 26% said they purchased their Smart TV during the pandemic — up a full 12 points from July.

“If there were any doubts that some of the changes we’re seeing in leisure habits are here to stay, those doubts were erased when Warner Bros. announced that its entire slate of 2021 films would be released on HBO Max at the same time as theaters,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study, in a statement. “And with providers like Comcast deciding to impose data caps across its entire footprint as of Jan. 1, it’s clear that many companies agree that streaming content is now the new normal.”

Follow us on Instagram

The hub study surveyed 3,000 U.S. consumers, age 14-74, who watched at least 1 hour of TV per week. The data were collected in October and November 2020.

Thanksgiving Weekend Box Office Eyes Pandemic Plummet

With just one major new release, Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age, hitting theaters over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, observers contend the traditional box office bonanza is set to disappoint this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, movies such as Disney’s Frozen II and Lionsgate’s Knives Out helped the Thanksgiving box office generate a healthy $263 million in ticket sales, still down almost 17% from 2018’s record North American haul of $315 million. This year, The Croods: A New Age is projected to generate no more than $15 million. The film tallied $1.8 million on opening day Nov. 25, according to Box Office Mojo.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“The pandemic has negatively impacted every traditionally important box office holiday from Memorial weekend to Fourth of July, and even sidelined the almighty summer movie season, so it’s no surprise that Thanksgiving would be impacted as well,” Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian said in a statement. “Usually, it’s a time frame when family and friends get together and historically it’s been a big weekend. This year it’s literally going to be a turkey.”

Indeed, the Thanksgiving weekend has typically generated around $250 million in annual revenue over the past decade, with just 2011 and 2014 falling slightly below the average. In 2020, the last major box office period, Labor Day weekend, saw revenue plummet 76.5% to $28.4 million despite the opening of Christopher Nolan’s espionage thriller Tenet.

With multiple virus vaccines reportedly readying for distribution, the Hollywood box office, and large group gatherings, could return to some sense of normalcy in 2021. A new reality that includes premium VOD. Universal is set to release The Croods: A New Age into homes as early as Dec. 11 should it fail to generate $50 million at the box office as part of a shortened theatrical window agreement the studio has with exhibitors AMC Theatres and Cinemark.

“I do think in the future, Thanksgiving will indeed return to prominence as one of the most important holidays, both symbolically and financially for movie theaters,” Dergarabedian said.