Podcast: Interview With the Studio Executive Who is Helping to Have Movie Theaters Reopened This Weekend

(Henry A. Barrios/The Bakersfield Californian via AP)

 

A discussion with Solstice Studios President Mark Gill on getting motion pictures back to the public.

It has been a long time in the arrival, but after months of closures and the ever-changing promises on the schedule we are finally on the verge of seeing the nation’s movie theaters reopening. While not a full return to action – and not full seating capacity available – it is a good sign to see even a partial reopening taking place this weekend. 

Helping to lead the charge is the first major motion picture to be released in  months, Russell Crowe starring in ‘’Unhinged’’. This is the first release from the new production company Solstice Studios, run by longtime producer in Hollywood Mark Gill. I had the chance to have a lengthy discussion with Gill on the Disasters In The Making show last night, where we covered a number of details both about the new film and the process involved in bringing it into theaters in this pandemic environment. 

While the movie was shot last summer on location in New Orleans it had no challenges from the Covid-19 outbreak, but that social shutdown certainly was a factor in the post-production. A number of elements in the completion of the film faced delays, both from access to services being cut off to limitations on workers gathering. Then came the ever-evolving release schedule.

Solstice is also operating as its own distributor and the quarantine shutdowns beginning in March were a constant battle for studios. As Gill explained it the initial problems this caused eventually became an opportunity. ‘’Unhinged’’ was originally slated for a September 25 release date but when the titles began to be moved off of a springtime release that date in September was chosen by much bigger films.

Gill explained how they looked to get out of the way of that larger competition but had the nerve to actually move ahead, and place the movie in the uncrowded but uncertain summer schedule. Once the movie chains began to have an idea on when they could reemerge Gill’s title became the film most in the industry began to watch to see how Hollywood will return.

Mark explains how one agent he spoke to told him that only every studio, all the agencies, performers, and the trade workers were all watching to see how his movie performs in the coming weeks to usher in the return of Hollywood. ”So no pressure on us,’’ Gill says wryly.

This was an interesting and revealing talk with an experienced executive in the entertainment complex who describes many of the challenges and changes Hollywood is facing in trying to recover from the pandemic shutdown.