By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Arnold Schwarzenegger enthusiastically chanted: âWe’re back! We’re back! âBefore speaking on Wednesday about the importance of resuscitating the theatrical experience for moviegoers.
âNow is the time to get back to the big screen,â Schwarzenegger told a socially distant audience of the AMC Century City 15 theater in Los Angeles.
The actor and former governor of California has been joined by filmmakers and executives from major Hollywood studios as part of the âBig Screen is Backâ initiative. Other speakers included JJ Abrams, Maggie Q, Sam Richardson, Janicza Bravo and David Bruckner.
âIf you have the movie and you don’t have theaters, you have nothing,â Schwarzenegger said. âYes, we’ve seen over the last year with the pandemic, people watching movies on their little iPhones and iPads and putting on their glasses to see what’s going on there. They lack special and visual effects and all the great things you usually see on the big screen. “
The gathering was one of the first in-person events in the industry to showcase its biggest upcoming projects. The three-hour event also included film clips and trailers from Disney, Sony and other studios.
Extensive footage was shown of Warner Bros. Disney’s âIn the Heightsâ, âCruellaâ, Universal’s âF9â, Paramount’s âSnake Eyesâ and Aretha Franklin’s biopic âRespectâ from MGM Studios / United Artist Releasing.
Every speaker urged a return to theaters as the industry poised to rebound after the pandemic created life without theaters about a year ago.
Maggie Q, star of the upcoming action film “The ProtÃ©gÃ©”, spoke of her excitement at seeing her work in theaters again. Bravo offered a preview of his movie “Zola”, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige appeared in a pre-recorded message before featuring a sizzle reel that included “Black Widow.”
âWe set out to create an epic cinematic experience that is visually spectacular and utterly captivating with every square inch of the frame,â Feige said. âWe want you to feel like you are part of the action. This is hands down the best way to see a Marvel movie and any cinematic period. “
Abrams gave an inspiring speech, saying his favorite experiences were in places like a movie theater.
âI think we all want to be kids again,â he said. “And the thought of going back to the movies and being in a big dark room with strangers, screaming and laughing, feeling the power of that is a natural human urge.”