Theater Updates: Drive-In Screenings Now Meet Oscar Requirements, Some Regal Theaters Are Staying Open In California, And More

The turmoil of the theatrical exhibition industry has been well documented since the pandemic began, but considering all of the insanity that's been going on in the country over the past couple of days, it'd be totally understandable a detail or two slipped through the cracks. That's where we come in: here are some theater updates involving some Regal theaters deciding to stay open, NATO's plea for you to #SaveYourCinema, and a tweaked Oscar eligibility rule.

Seven Regal Theater Locations Staying Open in California

Earlier this week, Cineworld – the parent company of Regal Cinemas – announced that starting today, they would be temporarily closing all of the Regal movie theater locations in the United States. But now Deadline reports that they've had a very slight change of heart: seven locations will remain open, all in California. The Irvine Spectrum, one of the most-trafficked locations of the past several weeks, is keeping its doors open, as are Regal spots in Carlsbad, the Manchester 16, La Habra, Temecula, Riverside Plaza, and Delta Shores.

"While Regal will temporarily suspend theatre operations at close of business today, Thursday, October 8, seven locations in California will remain open at this time," a spokesperson said today. "These seven theatres are located in markets throughout the state and had recently opened. Now, they will remain open to offer audiences in those newly-opened markets an opportunity to see Tenet on the big screen along with other current releases."

NATO's Latest Push to Save Theaters

While I personally disagree with the National Association of Theatre Owners' position that movie theaters should be reopened during the pandemic and studios should be releasing new films, I think most folks can agree that the theater industry desperately needs help from the government. In the wake of 93 prominent directors (among them Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg) sending a letter to Congress urging them to provide funding so the industry can survive, NATO is calling on audiences to go to and send your own letter to the government  to help put the pressure on them to make a decision.

Drive-In Screenings Now Acceptable for Oscars Eligibility

And finally, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted today and decided that drive-in screenings will now count towards a film's qualifications for the 2021 Oscars. Only one screening per day will be required at a drive-in, whereas three screenings per day were required in traditional indoor theaters.

The Academy Awards will take place on April 25, 2021.