What We Learned This Week: April 27-May 3

LESSON #1: THEATER CHAINS DO NOT HAVE A LEG TO STAND ON— I’m not going to lie or sugarcoat. I couldn’t be shaking my head and laughing harder at the puffed chests of theater chain companies like AMC and Regal this week and their little tiff with Universal Pictures over Trolls: World Tour. Companies like that on the ropes of bankruptcy trying to boycott/ban a studio’s offerings is the equivalent of biting the hand that feeds, especially when they’re starving. Sure, it’s cute to see more than one theater chain taking a stand, but what happens when the studios take a stand to trump them. This is billionaires arguing with zillionaires and no one wins, especially the quarantined theater-goer.

LESSON #2: LIFE WILL BE DIFFERENT WHEN THEATERS DO OPEN AND IT HAS BE— It looks like Texas is going to attempt to re-open some public places including movie theaters first and their guidelines are a really substantial swerve from the way things used to be. They’re saying be ready for “airport-style security” and possibly temperature checks. It’s not going to feel very welcoming, but maybe it will be safer. And that’s the point of all these new hurdles. In our current climate, we flat-out need to accept these changes.  The trouble is we know people are going to complain about the inconvenience. Fine, if you don’t like it, stay home.

LESSON #3: TEMPORARY CHANGES CAN STILL BE GAMECHANGERS— Easily the biggest industry news of the week was the shift of eligibility requirements for the Academy Awards. The Academy leadership is waiving the requirement for a 7-day theatrical run in the Los Angeles area to qualify. The gates are not fully open as they sound. The catch is films “must be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release.” So, you’re good if you give your film to them and not just everyone.  The plan is for this to be a temporary one-year switch, but watch this catch on and sway members with the convenience and the openness. Watch this get a chance to stick around. I’d put a gentle bet on the table it could become the new standard.

LESSON #4: ELEVATE TO ATTEND A FILM FESTIVAL AT HOME— If you’ve never been to the flush fullness of a film festival, you have a chance to absorb one from home later this month. YouTube is teaming with Tribeca for We Are One: A Global Film Festival curated with works from the Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, and Venice levels of prestige. Mark your calendars for May 29-June 7 and follow the channel here. Discover some excellent, enriching, and eclectic content you wouldn’t get anywhere else from the comfort of your living room or toilet seat (because we all know you crush a few binges while crushing a few other binges from this place).

DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based and Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson. His movie review work is also published on 25YL (25 Years Later) and also on Medium.com for the MovieTime Guru publication.  As an educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. He is a proud director and one of the founders of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle and a member of the nationally-recognized Online Film Critics Society.  As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film now for over two years, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends while chipping in with guest spots and co-hosting duties, including the previous “Connecting with Classics” podcasts.  Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium to follow his work.  (#131)

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