Hit film producer Jason Cloth knows what can lift the spirits of cinema audiences depressed by the grim world of Covid-19. “People are afraid, they’re tired,” says the 54-year-old Canadian, who is one of the industry’s biggest private financiers. “If we can truly give them some uplifting escapism, they will go back.”

With a string of box office successes to his name, Cloth has a record of understanding what audiences want. His biggest success was the 2019 film Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix as Batman’s nemesis. He says he put up 25 per cent of the reported $64m cost of the movie which took more than $1bn at box offices worldwide, making it one of the most profitable comic-book productions of all time.

Cloth questions whether that film, which was criticised for its violence, would still be a hit in today’s bleaker times. “Would Joker have done as well if it had been released after people had been battered and bruised through this pandemic?” But musicals and family shows are a different matter — they could attract the big audiences “more than they might have a year ago”, he says.

Joker’s success seems an age away for a sector that has suffered globally this year from cinemas closing, audiences staying away and studios postponing shoots and delaying releases, including the latest James Bond movie No Time To Die, which had been scheduled to open this spring but is now set for April next year.

Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Joker’, which cost $64m and made over $1bn at the box office
Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Joker’, which cost $64m and made over $1bn at the box office © Warner Bros Entertainment

Box office revenues worldwide were down 64 per cent year-on-year over the weekend of September 12-13 (the latest for which data was available at the time of writing) on average across 45 countries analysed by the

After seven months of darkness, some movie screens in the Seattle area will light up on Friday. Newly revised state coronavirus restrictions are allowing cinemas to reopen at 25% capacity, and while some operators are choosing to remain closed, others are eagerly preparing to resume business — for an audience that may still be deciding whether to return.

“It is a personal choice, and I understand that and I don’t want to minimize the concern that people may have,” said Jeff Brein, managing partner of the local chain Far Away Entertainment. “I think what we can do is what retailers have done, what restaurants have done … and that is to do everything that we can to provide a safe environment.”

Far Away is reopening seven of its eight theaters, including the Admiral in West Seattle and the Varsity in the University District, on Friday. (The eighth, Ocean Shores Cinema, reopened in the summer, as it is in a Phase 3 county.)  

Also reopening Friday are 14 multiplexes in the AMC chain across the state, including Pacific Place in downtown Seattle. And Cinemark announced Tuesday that it will reopen its four theaters in the state Friday, including two at Bellevue’s Lincoln Square and multiplexes in Federal Way and Tacoma.

Most of the Seattle area’s locally owned theaters — including SIFF, Majestic Bay, Ark Lodge, Grand Illusion and Northwest Film Forum — have announced that they will not reopen at this time, citing both safety and business concerns. “It’s going to be extremely challenging at 25%,” Brein acknowledged. And some of the chain multiplexes will remain dark: Regal Cinemas has announced a nationwide closure for the foreseeable future.

But Brein said he’s eager to demonstrate to moviegoers that it’s safe to return to cinemas again, and his theaters are reopening after

Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, many Hollywood companies still can’t head back into production on film and TV projects because of one major roadblock: Insurers have made no moves to incorporate pandemic coverage into policies, leaving big studios to self-insure and smaller production companies to seek pricey alternatives — or gamble on shooting without any coverage at all. Productions that bought policies before March are largely safe, as multiple insiders tell TheWrap that most policies procured before the pandemic shutdown did not have COVID-19 or infectious disease exclusions, and cast insurance and civil authority policies cover expenses incurred due to the coronavirus. However, any policy written since March now has a “platter of exclusions” as insurers seek to mitigate potential losses, according to Brian Kingman, managing director at Gallagher Entertainment, who helps find coverage for Hollywood’s stars. Plus, no major insurance carriers will offer COVID-related coverage moving forward. “In the past, most, if not all, specialty insurance products related to film, TV and live events did not have written COVID-19 exclusions, so many of the productions that are being rebooted should have some level of coverage on a moving forward basis, yet the unfortunate news for new productions or…

Read original story Why Insurance Is Still a Roadblock to Restarting Production (Hint: Premiums Cost 10 Times More) At TheWrap

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FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, leaves a television studio in London, Britain, October 6, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

(Reuters) – British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak will announce a local furlough scheme on Friday in which the government will subsidise two thirds of the wages of workers in pubs, restaurants and other businesses that are forced to close to stop the spread of the coronavirus, The Times newspaper reported bit.ly/33FH8yg.

“Employers will be able to access the scheme for as long as pubs, restaurants and other businesses are closed,” the newspaper’s deputy political editor, Steven Swinford, said on Twitter.

The Times quoted an unidentified minister as saying there was frustration in government at the failure of the Treasury to bring forward the measures sooner.

The Daily Mail newspaper reported earlier that Sunak was putting together a new support package for jobs in a furlough-style bailout for coronavirus hotspots plunged into local lockdowns next week.

Britain has already suffered the highest death toll in Europe and the worst economic contraction of any leading nation from the coronavirus outbreak.

Its parliament will vote on Tuesday on the imposition of a 10 p.m. closing time for English pubs, bars and restaurants, a measure the government says is necessary to tackle COVID-19, but which the hospitality industry says is destroying businesses.

More restrictions are being considered for parts of northern England, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Thursday.

Local media reported on Wednesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will soon launch a simplified three-tier local lockdown code.

Areas in Tier 1 will continue with the current social distancing measures while areas in Tier 2 will have a ban on households mixing. The worst-affected areas in Tier 3 will have to close hospitality.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Chris Reese

Norman Pearlstine is about to be out of a job and likely is breathing a sigh of relief. Having successfully run major media entities like Forbes, Time Inc. and the Wall Street Journal, Pearlstine has tried for the past two and a half years to steer the recovery of the Los Angeles Times. He’s had some positive things working for him: A supportive billionaire publisher who has supplied massive refinancing and a gorgeous new headquarters. Also an eager readership that has survived years of frustration because of mismanagement.

Nothing can be more ominous than good portents, however: Despite Pearlstine’s stalwart efforts, and a near doubling of digital readership, the Times staff has seemed bent on self-immolation with its editors and reporters delivering more apologies than news. Last month, the newspaper published a special editorial section declaring its regrets for gaps in coverage dating back to the 19th century. As for Pearlstine, the executive editor, he has decided to move on.

To some in the media business, the problems of Times ring an alarm bell: Just as the Times can’t seem to overcome the forces of divisiveness and gloom, are other corporate entities destined for a similar fate?

It is perhaps no coincidence that the Trump administration, whose statements have poisoned moves toward cohesion, last week officially suspended all government diversity training programs. According to Trump’s executive order, these programs have only succeeded in propagating “offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.”

So what is the appropriate response? “Donald Trump is about to be defeated and it’s time for people to snap out of it, stop talking about moving to New Zealand and start building on the recovery,” comments the CEO of one media company who insists on talking off the record. “We’ve got to put