Jamie Lee Curtis is coming to you live from her home to host a slate of virtual Friday night movie parties. Featuring a handful of blockbuster films, the series, dubbed “Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies,” will stream for free every Friday through May 8.
The program of free movies — which kicked off last week with a special screening of “The Hunger Games” — continues April 24 with “Dirty Dancing.” Jennifer Grey, star of the landmark ’80s flick, will join Curtis for a virtual discussion. The stream begins at 9 p.m. on the Fandango Movieclips YouTube channel.
“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,” Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said. “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.”
Presented in partnership with Fandango and a host of theaters, the Lionsgate initiative will also feature “La La Land” on May 1 and “John Wick” on May 8. Guests for the upcoming films will be announced at a future date.
“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,” Drake said.
While the films included in the series are free to stream live, the event will benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, which is currently providing emergency financial assistance to theater employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closures.
“Throughout the 125-year history of the cinema, this is the first time that movie theaters have been shut down across the country,” John Fithian, president and CEO, National Association of Theatre Owners, said. “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.”
He continued: “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.”
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The initiative joins a rising effort in the film industry to help support cinema workers who suddenly found themselves unemployed as closures across the country mounted. Crowdsourced efforts, such as the Cinema Worker Solidarity Fund (which raised $75,287 to be distributed directly to theater employees), have provided emergency relief over the past month. In March, Netflix announced a $100 million fund to support film and TV industry workers, and on April 1, American Documentary reopened its Artist Emergency Fund to aid those in the independent documentary community — though it stopped taking applications by April 9 due to an overwhelming response.
“Last year when we ran the pilot, the need for a fund of this kind was already substantial,” Justine Nagan, executive producer and director of POV/American Documentary, said. “During this pandemic, the need is critical … We are just beginning to see how COVID-19 is affecting filmmakers, especially those from marginalized communities. Canceled premieres, halted production and broader systemic issues are profoundly affecting filmmakers from healthcare to housing security.”
More information about “Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies” can be found here.
Top Image: An iconic scene from "Dirty Dancing." Photo: Lionsgate.