All eyes on Russel Crowe’s Unhinged as Hollywood theatres reopen

With the release of the action film Hollywood hopes to start the process of 'recovery'

Theatres in the US were shut since mid-March, but whether the gamble of giving Crow's flick a theatrical release proves to be successful remains to be seen

Hollywood actor Russell Crowe’s road rage thriller ‘Unhinged’ is soon to hit the big screen on July 10 – after nearly three months of limbo due to coronavirus.

With the release of the action film Hollywood hopes to start the process of ‘recovery’.

Theatres in the US were shut since mid-March, but whether the gamble of giving Crow’s flick a theatrical release proves to be successful remains to be seen.

According to AFP, top theater chains across the US plan to fire up their projectors in the first half of July, screens in badly-hit New York, and Los Angeles don’t yet have permission to reopen.

Besides, in the potential second wave of COVID-19 how many moviegoers actually show up in dark, enclosed auditoriums remains to be seen.

Recently, AMC – the world’s largest theater chain, caused a stir by initially declining to mandate face masks, saying it did not want to be “drawn into a political controversy.”

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It did retract the statement on that policy on Friday following an outcry.

Mark Gill, producer, Unhinged says that usually, competitors in Hollywood do not wish each other well very, however, in his case, everyone from indie distributors to blockbuster studios are keenly following them and hoping we do well.

After several hiccups like postponing the release date, scrambling for better titles and avoiding clash with other major event in sports and otherwise, Solstice Studios decided to go ahead with the release.

They calculated that the flopping risk is reduced for a mid-budget, $33 million movie.

“The more we looked at it, it’s risky of course, but it still looked like it was worth doing,” Gill told AFP.

Guinea pig

According to Jeff Bock, a senior analyst for industry tracker Exhibitor Relations, “somebody had to go first and it’s definitely worth the risk.”

As a plus point already ‘Unhinged’ has created a buzz owing to which the trailer has garnered more than 210 million views in a week.

‘Unhinged’ is really a set-up for the other studios,” Bock added, noting that the true litmus test will be the first major studio titles, including Warner Bros’ $200 million-plus ‘Tenet,’ out July 31.

Armed with the likes of ‘Inception’, ‘Dunkirk’ and the Batman ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy, Nolan’s Tenet will the real test for big-budgeted films in Hollywood.

Giving New York and Los Angeles screens breathing space to reopen, ‘Tenet’ was recently shuffled back by two weeks.

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Analysts also predict that Disney’s ‘Mulan’ due in July may yet be switched to a later slot if families are seen as still nervous about going to theaters.

“Word-of-mouth will be based now on not specifically which films are actually good, but which theaters are following all the guidelines,” said Bock.

Caution necessary

With China reporting several COVID cases after it opened theatres again and subsequently had to shut them, it’s imperative that the US pays heeds to what the trend says.

If fresh outbreaks are traced back to screens in the US, “theaters are going to shut down very quickly, and for a very long time thereafter,” predicted Bock.

Resonating with the concerns LA on Friday gave a go-ahead for bars and tattoo parlors to reopen, but not theaters.

Gill says that the focus is all on the audience who may or may not be willing to return.

“Theaters can be open and a good movie may be running and you may be doing everything right. But if nobody’s coming, you’re dead,” he said.

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