Ms. DuVernay, whose film and television credits include “Selma,” “Queen Sugar” and “When They See Us,” grew more pointed. “Some folks are scared, and I have sympathy,” she said. “But it’s mostly the folks who are clinging to the idea that Hollywood is theirs and it was built in their likeness, and they will do anything to cling to it, even if that means destroying it.”
She concluded by rolling her eyes at the Chicken Littles who fret that moviegoing is over.
“Talk about dramatic,” she said. “Theaters aren’t going anywhere, at least not all of them.”
In fact, multiplexes may get a post-pandemic bump. Because so many studios have pushed back their biggest movies, next summer’s theatrical release calendar looks like a blockbuster heaven: “Black Widow,” “Fast Furious 9,” “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Hotel Transylvania 4,” “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” (To name a few.) With any luck, studio chiefs say, the newly vaccinated masses will come out in droves, in part because they won’t take the theatrical experience for granted anymore.
In Japan, where cinemas are fully operating again (the country’s response to the coronavirus has kept cases and deaths low), more than 3.4 million people turned out last month to see an animated movie, “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train,” on its opening weekend. One Tokyo theater scheduled a jaw-dropping 42 screenings in one day to meet demand.
Popcorn for everyone!
“There’s a reason that the Roaring Twenties followed the 1918 pandemic,” J.J. Abrams, the Bad Robot Productions chairman, said by phone. “We have a pent-up, desperate need to see each other — to socialize and have communal experiences. And there is nothing that I can think of that is more exciting than being in a theater with people you don’t know, who don’t necessarily like the same sports teams or pray to the same god or eat the same food. But you’re screaming together, laughing together, crying together. It’s a social necessity.”