Monday, July 15, 2024

The Dark Comedy of ‘Coming Soon’

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Knock. Knock. 

Who’s There? 

The New Mutants release date. 

We live in a world of quarantine, pandemics, willfully negligent governance, and a woefully naked soul-crushing greed of corporate America. In other words, ain’t nothing normal. Which makes the Marvel attempting to pretend that we’ll be in any shape to be going to the movies by August, or frankly anytime this year, seem darkly satirical. 

But Marvel is not alone. Well, it is and it isn’t. Until just a few days ago Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was set to save American movie theaters by coming out late July. Well, it’s late July and the Warner Brothers have announced that Tenet has been pushed back indefinitely. 

Disney has done the same for Mulan. Followed by, followed by, and followed by.  

People want to go to the movies. Heck, most of us just want to get out and do something, anything. But going to the movies while we wage a limp and ineffectual virus, we know startlingly little about?  Let’s just say, in my view, Nolan can keep his latest opus. 

The studios seem hellbent on getting something onto those darkened silver screens as soon as possible. I don’t blame them. It’s not as if I don’t understand their position. 

Movies like TenetMulan, and New Mutants cost a pretty penny to make. Releasing them on VOD or some other form of streaming is an option but the hit the studios will take on the books is an ugly one. Though, if anything, maybe this will finally show Hollywood the wisdom of not having their movies cost the same as the GDP of a small island nation.  

Point is, all this wembling about is just futile. As of right now, there are two companies that have announced they have moved ahead with vaccine trials for COVID-19. Both have said they hope to have it ready by the end of the year at the earliest. So, December, which for those playing along at home, is not the end of August. 

I love movies. I have to in order to do the job I do. It brings me no great joy to be the naysayer. But at some point, movie studios are going to have to just accept facts. I’ve already gone over how opening theaters at half capacity will demonstrably limit the potential box office earnings, not to mention the theaters. But let’s say we do the half capacity notion, where theaters close off every other row in the auditorium, thereby forcing them to have to play bigger movies in more houses to make up for lost seats. 

You thought big studio movies ate up all the oxygen before? Just wait until their fighting, not for box office supremacy but box office survival. It will either be a bloodbath or theaters will space their big releases out so widely that the notion of a “summer season” or an “awards season” will come to mean less and less. 

Who knows? Maybe I’m wrong. It could happen. Lord knows it happens every day. Maybe people start wearing masks, local Governments make it easier for low-income people to survive, bars, restaurants, and movie theaters open and enforce social distancing and mask-wearing.  

It is entirely possible that in little over a month some three hundred million people of varying counties, towns, cities, and municipalities miraculously change their behavior and accept what needs to be done for us to survive and overcome the obstacles before us. Maybe people start wearing masks, and maybe people stop trying to antagonize their fellow frightened and anxious citizens by walking around without a mask as some kind of grand social contrarian experiment.   

Even if they do release a vaccine there’s no way of knowing how or when it will be available to us, the meager general public. If we are lucky, and the wind is blowing in the right direction, and someone convinces the Fascist Ogre that he’ll make a killing in the stock market by making the vaccine free, he may release the vaccine at an affordable cost. But that is just as silly as believing The New Mutants will be coming out August 28th. 

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