Sundance Has Canceled In-Person Events, Film Festival Will Be All Virtual This Year

Even though this new variant of COVID-19 appears to be more mild, more and more events are being canceled due to its extreme growth. Basically, you have COVID-19 right now. I hate to break it to you, but you probably have it right now. That’s how quickly this variant has spread.

And because of this, the Sundance Film Festival has decided to scrap its plans for an in-person gathering for their upcoming 2022 festival.

Sundance goes down every January in Park City, Utah, and it was scheduled this year from January 20-30, but now it looks like it’ll be all virtual.

The festival released the following statement after ruminating on the decision for weeks…

Despite the most ambitious protocols, the Omicron variant with its unexpectedly high transmissibility rates is pushing the limits of health safety, travel and other infrastructures across the country. The festival’s in-person Utah elements will be moving online this year. While we’re disappointed to not provide the full hybrid experience and gather in-person as intended, audiences this year will still experience the magic and energy of our festival.

As a nonprofit, our Sundance spirit is in making something work against the odds. But with case numbers forecasted to peak in our host community the week of the festival we cannot knowingly put our staff and community at risk.

It’s a huge hit to the festival. The in-person event is basically one week-long party in Utah full of filmmakers and celebrities. They were forced to hold a virtual event in 2021 as well. So that’s two years in a row now, and you have to wonder if it’ll impact their reach at all.

Hopefully they can return in-person in 2023, but who the hell knows at this point.

Palm Springs Film Festival Canceled Due To Recent COVID-19 Surge

Thanks to the Omicron variant, COVID-19 is canceling things like it’s 2020. The latest victim? The Palm Springs Film Festival.

It was reported this week that the popular film festival will be cancelled, due to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases across the country. The event was scheduled to take place between January 7 and January 17.

Based on the current rise of COVID cases, the Palm Springs International Film Society has announced that the Film Festival will not take place this year from January 7-17. This follows the cancellation of the January 6 Film Awards. After thoughtful consideration, the Film Society feels this is the most responsible decision to ensure the safety of our patrons, filmmakers, and staff. Those who have purchased festival tickets and passes will receive a refund.  For most, the refund will be returned to their original method of payment.

As of right now, the Palm Springs Shortfest is still scheduled to take place in June. Organizers hope by then this surge will have calmed down.

And then in 2023, they hope the film festival can return as well. It’s a big blow to the festival, but it’s probably the right move. Even though this latest variant appears to be more mild, we don’t know the full impact yet.

The Film Awards will partner with Entertainment Tonight to celebrate this year’s honorees with details to follow. The festival will announce juried award winners from the official selection on January 15 via press release and social media.

Here’s to hoping we’re not still dealing with this sh*t in 2023.

Hugh Jackman Has Tested Positive For COVID-19, Forced To Put ‘Music Man’ On Hold

As the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads across the world, more and more events and performances are having to be cancelled.

On Tuesday, 53-year-old actor Hugh Jackman revealed he tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the cancellation of his Broadway show The Music Man.

He shared the news on his Twitter account, revealing his symptoms have been mild so far.

 I just wanted you to hear it from me that I tested positive this morning for COVID. My symptoms are like a cold. I have a scratchy throat and a bit of a runny nose, but I’m fine. And I’m just going to do everything i can to get better ASAP. And as soon as I’m cleared, I’ll be back on stage, heading to River City.

Jackman is fully vaccinated and even received a booster shot back on December 5. And while he obviously still caught the virus, the belief is the vaccine helped keep his case mild.

The Music Man is expected to return on January 2nd, but Jackman won’t be allowed to return until the 6th.

Those who’d previously purchased tickets can expect a full refund or exchange at point of purchase. The revival of the classic musical is slated to officially open on Feb. 10.

It appears COVID-19 is working its way through the cast of the musical. Last week, one of Jackman’s co-stars came down with the virus and had to pull out of the show just hours before taking the stage.

Stay safe out there folks!

Jeff Bridges Has A Great Update Amid Battle With Cancer + COVID-19

As most of you know, Jeff Bridges shocked his fans last October when he announced he had been diagnosed with lymphoma. He had a pretty large mass, which was around 9 inches by 12 inches when he started chemotherapy.

Now, nearly one year later, Bridges has provided his fans with an update, and it’s full of good news. The 71-year-old actor shared a handwritten note early Monday morning, telling his fans that his cancer is in remission and the mass has shrunk down to the size of a marble.

Additionally, he revealed he got COVID-19 earlier this year. He believes he caught it at the facility where he’s been getting chemo. Luckily, after feeling like crap for a bit, he was able to beat it. He also revealed he got the vaccine as well, which he believes helped with the recovery.

Best of all for Jeff, he says he was able to walk his daughter, Hayley, down the aisle at her recent wedding — something he wasn’t sure he could do, because he’s been on oxygen. The proud dad said he even danced with her … without his O2 tank.

Oh and he’s been able to return to acting in a limited capacity. He shared the clip you see below, so you can see just how healthy he’s looking…

Keep those thoughts and prayers coming. They’re working!

‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ Has Been Delayed Once Again…Thanks COVID-19!

When will we finally be able to stop worrying about COVID-19? We have no idea. It could be months, years, or hell even decades at this point.

In the past few weeks, the Delta variant has been spreading across the country, hitting unvaccinated people especially hard. Hospitals are overflowing in several states and some people are once again afraid to hit up their local movie theater.

This has damaged the box office the past two weeks, which has led to Sony Pictures making a big decision regarding the release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

The upcoming comic book adventure was supposed to be released September 24, but now it’s been pushed back to October 15. So it’s not a huge delay, but it’s still a delay.

I suppose the studio is hoping this Delta variant will be declining by October, which could be the case. It’s so contagious that it’s possible the peak hits in mid-September.

Andy Serkis is directing ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage.’ The first film, 2018’s ‘Venom,’ was a surprise box office smash, generating $855 million at the global box office. The sequel will star Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Reid Scott and Naomie Harris.

I’m assuming the budget for this film was pretty high, so the studio doesn’t want this to flop.

Don’t be surprised if they delay it again if the Delta variant is still spreading come October.

Oscar Attendees Won’t Be Required To Wear Masks While On Camera

Everyone has been wondering how the Oscars will look come Sunday, the 25th. The event is supposed to take place in person, at least mostly, as opposed to the Golden Globes, which were mainly virtual.

According to a recent report from Variety, attendees at the star-studded event will not be required to wear a mask while on camera.

Because the ceremony — being held at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles — is being treated as a TV/film production, masks are not required for people on camera, an Academy staffer explained.

However, when guests are not on camera, they are being asked to wear masks. For example, masks should be put on during commercial breaks.

If that sounds silly to you, that’s because it is. The rules don’t always make sense, but for now, those are the rules, and they must follow them to avoid any fines.

The audience capacity will be limited to 170 people, and audience members will be rotated in and out of the ceremony, which should make for some chaotic moments.

Temp checks will be mandatory, and anyone attending must take at least three COVID tests in the days leading up to the ceremony.

An abbreviated red carpet will include three photographers and a limited number of press outlets doing interviews, including ABC News, KABC and E!. International outlets will be from Japan, Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Australia. There will be at least seven feet between reporters and interviewees.

We’ll see how it all plays out on Sunday.

Theaters In New York City Are Now Open, After Being Closed For A Year!

We have been dealing with this COVID-19 pandemic for a solid year now, and for the majority of that time, movie theaters have been closed.

In the past couple months, theaters in smaller markets had opened back up, but major markets like Los Angeles and New York City remained completely shutdown.

And while theaters in LA haven’t opened just yet, the cinema in New York City is back…kinda!

Movie theaters have been allowed to reopen in NYC at 25% capacity.

When Cuomo announced the reopening on February 22, he limited theaters to one out of every four available seats and no more than 50 people. That’s a lot of X’s on the seating chart. If you reserve at an AMC, the system automatically blocks out the seats on either side.

But still, 25% capacity is so much better than 0%. I think we can all agree on that. And as long as we avoid another outbreak, this should give theaters enough time to prepare for the summer blockbuster hits.

Come May/June/July, theaters should be fully open in smaller markets, and at least 50% to 75% capacity in the bigger markets like NYC and LA.

And people in NYC are excited, even NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang. He plans to celebrate with a date night…

That dinky, and let’s be honest, tacky, sign in LA can’t mask the fact NYC is the real entertainment capital. So get your popcorn ready, folks, because movie theaters are back in action and it’s date night at the Yang household.

Warner Bros. Suspends ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ Filming After Crew Member Tests Positive For COVID-19

It was looking like film sets were starting to figure out this COVID-19 thing. In the beginning, there were several productions forced to pause due to crew members testing positive.

But here lately, there hasn’t been as many, suggesting that the protocols on set have strengthened.

Unfortunately, we just learned that Warner Bros. has suspended filming for ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3‘ after a crew member tested positive for the virus.

A spokesperson for the studio released the following statement:

A team member from Fantastic Beasts 3 has tested positive for COVID-19. The diagnosis was confirmed as a result of required and ongoing testing that all production employees receive, and the team member is currently in isolation. Out of an abundance of caution, ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ paused production and will be back up in accordance with safety guidelines.

Sounds like it’s under control, but you really don’t know yet if the crew member was able to spread it. It can take 10 (or maybe even 14 days) for symptoms to appear.

After being pushed back in March because of the pandemic, the film is still on track to be released on July 15, 2022.

AMC Is Alive! Raises $917 Million To Stay Afloat During “Coronavirus-Impacted Winter’

If you were wondering if AMC Theatres would make it out of this pandemic alive, well, you should wonder no more…we think?

The world’s largest cinema chain has raised $917 million in new equity and debt capital, which should allow the company to make it out of this terrible slump.

The company released the following statement:

This increased liquidity should allow the company to make it through this dark coronavirus-impacted winter. [Our] financial runway has been extended deep into 2021.

So this is very good news, especially now that vaccines are coming and things should return to some sort of normalcy by the summer. The hope is that come fall, people will be hitting up theaters in large numbers again.

Of course, no one can predict the future, and there is a chance we’re still dealing with this pandemic in the fall…BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LET’S HOPE NOT!

Let’s just pretend like everything is going to be okay in a few months. Just for this post. Can we do that? Yes. Cool.

AMC has survived. Theaters have survived. WOO! YAY!

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Dawn Wells Dies At Age 82 From COVID-19

COVID-19 has dimmed out another star this year. Dawn Wells, who starred as “good girl” Mary Ann in the popular 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island, has died at the age of 82.

She had been suffering from COVID-19 complications in Los Angeles before her death. Her publicist Harlan Boll confirmed the sad news to CNN.

Wells’ Gilligan’s Island co-star, Tina Louise, released a statement on her friend’s death.

I was sad to learn of Dawn’s passing, I will always remember her kindness to me. We shared in creating a cultural landmark that has continued to bring comfort and smiles to people during this difficult time. I hope that people will remember her the way that I do — always with a smile on her face.

Wells had a pretty incredible career in Hollywood, appearing in over 100 tv shows, seven feature films and more than 60 productions on and off Broadway.

Some of you younger folks may remember her brief appearance on the Netflix series, Love on the Spectrum.

One of the people on the show was a huge fan of hers and he actually got to meet her on the show. She seemed so nice and warm.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family.