Fathom Events Plans Event Cinema Programming Once Theaters Return

Last year, 25 event cinema releases from Fathom Events earned $1M domestically.

Top titles included concert film BTS World Tour: Love Yourself in Seoul with $3.5M, sitcom special Friends 25th: The One With The Anniversary with $2.8M, and classic re-releases of Gone with the Wind ($2.1M) and The Wizard of Oz ($2.0M).

Due to covid-19, Fathom cancelled or postponed all their events since March 18, including:

  • Re-releases of Braveheart, Apollo 13, Gladiator, A League of Their Own, CluelessAirplane, and The Shining;
  • Metropolitan Opera performances Puccini’s Tosca and Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda;
  • A “singalong encouraged” showing of the Cartoon Network animated musical Steven Universe: The Movie.

The earliest planned event still tentatively scheduled is a June 28 showing of The Blues Brothers. Yet it’s possible that even June 28 may be an optimistic return date for cinemas to reopen nationwide. The earliest new wide release tentatively scheduled is Warner Bros.’ Tenet on July 17.

Still, Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt is optimistic about the future of the moviegoing experience. He recently took to Fathom’s website to write about his nascent H.O.P.E. initiative — that’s Health, Optimism, Persistence, and Excel — and spoke to Boxoffice PRO about the company’s tentative plans for programming once cinemas return nationwide.

Which titles will be featured in your H.O.P.E. programming initiative once cinemas return?

We are still in the process of locking in specific titles with our content partners, but I can say that our program will feature themed days of the best of anime, faith and inspiration, classic film and other key verticals. In general, we’re looking to offer positive and uplifting content that gets people excited about returning to the movie theater.

When do you anticipate it will take place?

The plan is very fluid, as you can expect. We will take the lead of our exhibition partners to determine the best and safest roll-out strategy in the window before new releases from Fathom and other distributors start playing.

Will the titles be adjusted or changed at all based on covid-19, or will it just a delay of the previously-planned titles?

Nearly all of our content providers chose to postpone their scheduled events versus cancelling them, which really shows their dedication to the Fathom theatrical experience. We are currently in the process of rescheduling that planned content, including Chasing Whiskey, a documentary about Jack Daniel’s, a multi-episode celebration of The Carol Burnett Show, and classic films like Apollo 13, Braveheart, and Clueless. The 30-day comeback plan may include some of these existing releases, depending on timing, but will also bring back “best-of” content.

How has other events getting postponed/cancelled affected Fathom’s release schedule? For example, you’ve had success with Metropolitan Opera titles, but the Met is off for now. You also made good money screening the McGregor-Mayweather boxing match a few years ago, but all sporting events are off for now.

Live screenings of events like the Metropolitan Opera, Bolshoi Ballet and sporting events will return at a later time. That said, a lot of library content in these categories exists and has potential for encore screenings. We’re also looking for opportunities to live stream some fan-focused content through our social channels, so keep an eye out for that.

Our key objective with this initiative is to bring people back to movie theaters, safely, for a gradual return to shared entertainment. Our theater partners are eager for content in both Q3 and Q4, so we are currently curating a line-up of more than 70 unique titles across a variety of genres in the second half of the year. About half of those titles have never been seen theatrically, so we anticipate a lot of excitement from moviegoers who want an exclusive and memorable big-screen experience.

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