Movies

Universal Pictures Sets New Release Dates While Theater Chains Sue To Reopen

Universal Pictures has announced new release dates for a handful of upcoming releases, including CandymanThe Forever PurgeHalloween Kills, and Halloween Ends.

  • Candyman will move from September 25, 2020, to Friday, October 16, 2020
  • The Forever Purge will be released on Friday, July 9, 2021
  • Halloween Kills will move from October 16, 2020, to Friday, October 15, 2021
  • Halloween Ends will move from October 15, 2021, to Friday, October 14, 2022, taking the place of the previously announced Untitled Blumhouse Productions Project

Meanwhile, major theater chains are suing the state of New Jersey because while the state of New Jersey is allowing some businesses to reopen, cinemas aren’t one of them.

AMC, Cinemark and Regal are coming together in court to sue New Jersey with the claim that allowing churches and other businesses to reopen but not movie theaters, they are committing constitutional injury to the theater chain industry.

“By this Complaint, Plaintiffs challenge Defendants’ unconstitutional and unlawful distinctions in allowing certain places of public assembly to reopen, while requiring movie theaters to remain closed,” states a complaint being led by the National Association of Theater Owners of New Jersey.With Movie Theaters Closed, Marquees Go Viral - The New York Times

COVID-19 represents a serious public health risk, and Plaintiffs support fair and reasonable actions by the government to address that risk. However, the government-mandated total closure of movie theaters is neither fair nor reasonable, and is instead a violation of Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, Equal Protection of the laws, Due Process under the law, and is a Taking of property without just compensation.

The lawsuit, which discusses how New Jersey has now entered Stage 2 without any timeline given for Stage 3 of which theaters are a part of, is being handled by First Amendment attorneys at Davis Wright Tremaine, a prominent law firm in the media industry.

Though the country is currently seeing a spike in cases of the coronavirus as people rush to get back to a sense of normality, the COVID Tracking Project shows that New Jersey has been faring better than most states. The complaint, which can be read here, also sees the industry asking for an order from New Jersey that treats movie houses the same as other businesses and that a declaration of Governor Philip Murphy’s actions as a “deprivation of just compensation” be issued.

“Defendants have a legal obligation to promulgate orders that treat like entities in a like manner, and not to create arbitrary or irrational distinctions, particularly where First Amendment rights are at stake,” states the complaint.

Although Defendants have issued orders allowing other public assemblies such as religious services and ceremonies to open, they have withheld approval for movie theaters, which are similarly situated, if not less of a risk, from a public health perspective. Representatives of Plaintiffs met with representatives of Defendants, and the representatives of Plaintiffs shared detailed safety protocols that would be implemented for the reopening of movie theaters in the State that Plaintiffs are ready, willing, and able to implement.

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