Lionsgate has become the latest—and largest—distributor to take some of their films to streaming in a way designed to help the distribution industry… but with their just-announced “Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies,” they’re doing things a little differently than theatrical VOD providers.
Starting this Friday and lasting for four weeks, Lionsgate—in collaboration with Fandango and YouTube—will stream four of their library titles for free on YouTube, both on Lionsgate’s account and that of Fandango’s Movieclips. The first title will be The Hunger Games, followed by Dirty Dancing (April 24), La La Land (May 1), and John Wick (May 8; age registration required).
Each movie will be paired with “special programming and special interactive opportunities for fans,” according to Lionsgate’s official press release, including movie trivia and live tweeting. Each digital screening will be hosted by Jamie Lee Curtis, who “will share her own movie memories as she is joined by special guest celebrities and YouTube personalities.”
“There’s nothing that will replace the magic of seeing a movie together with your fellow moviegoers in a theater on a big screen, but this is a chance for America to come together to recreate the experience,” said Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. “This is a great chance to show the country’s theatrical employees how much we miss going to their theaters and how much we support them. Jamie Lee Curtis—a woman who literally grew up with the movies and movie theaters—is one of the world’s biggest movie fans, so it’s a real thrill that she’ll be our host for this event. Let’s have some fun watching some classic movies together at home while celebrating moviegoing!”
Other partners for the streaming series include NATO, AMC Theatres, Regal, and Cinemark. Throughout the event, partner organizations will donate money to the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, which has set up an Emergency Grant to assist exhibition industry employees affected by the current shutdown. Audience members, too, will be educated about Will Rogers’ mission and encouraged to donate during the live screenings. Popcornopolis will donate ten percent of their movie night sales to the Pioneers Foundation, while SnackNation is selling a movie-themed snack box.
NATO CEO and president John Fithian adds: “Throughout the 125-year history of the cinema, this is the first time that movie theaters have been shut down across the country. Whether it was the Depression, wars, disasters, or local calamities, movie theaters have always been a gathering place where audiences can come together to laugh and be moved, reacting as one, to put their troubles behind them or forget about their hard week at work, and just get lost in the amazing stories on the big screen. Until we can gather again in our nation’s theaters, we’re grateful to Lionsgate for honoring the theatrical moviegoing experience and we are thrilled to join together with them over these next four Fridays, not only to see four classic movies for free, but also to allow fans and celebrities to share their own moviegoing memories. We love that so many people will be talking about what makes going to the movies so unique and memorable.”