Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, ViacomCBS and Warner Bros took a common position, while pledging to explore alternative options to organize the usual screenings that the studios call each year.
Last night, the big Hollywood studios decided to cancel their participation in LA Screenings 2020. In a statement signed by Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, ViacomCBS and Warner Bros they announced that they would not participate in the show due to the Coronavirus pandemic. “It is out of an abundance of caution, and with the health and well-being of our clients and employees at the forefront, we have collectively decided to not hold L.A. Screenings events this year and will instead explore alternative options in which to showcase our respective upcoming content.”
The independent event organized by Events TM and NATPE is also canceled due to the health global situation. "In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19), EventsTM and NATPE have made the decision to cancel LA Screenings Independents scheduled for May. The health and safety of all those involved with all of our events, including LA Screenings Independents, is our highest priority and we make this decision after closely monitoring the situation and conversations with the appropriate authorities. At this time, the remainder of the NATPE 2020 event slate is moving forward as planned," the organizers stated on Friday.
The text of the statement also notes that while they hope to host their clients at this long-standing industry event, they have made the determination considering travel restrictions for their global clients and evolving public health concerns. The companies said that each of them will communicate, soon and individually, their alternative plans to organize the projections that, year after year, attract buyers from all over the world.
Usually, LA Screenings convenes the industry for mid-May, in the week following the usual Upfronts that take place in New York. Some buyers from the world's major markets typically visit the United States for two weeks, starting in New York and ending in Los Angeles for the Screenings. But not this year because there would be no Upfronts either. It happens that a growing number of new shows have also been forced to postpone their production, as is the case with companies of the likes of NBCUniversal, CBS, Warner Bros and Netflix. To this we must add some important releases that were announced and that have already been canceled, such as the case of Disney + in Europe.
Specifically, at the LA Screenings we will have to wait to find out what position the Independents will take in the face of the domino effect produced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the uncertainty grows.