With pandemic-shuttered movie theaters cautiously inching toward a hoped-for reopening this summer, Fathom Events announced Friday that it will hold special event screenings of the military thriller "The Outpost" on 500 screens July 2, followed by a more limited theatrical run.
The screenings of the Rod-Lurie directed film, starring Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones and Orlando Bloom, are scheduled to come just one day after the planned opening of the Russell Crowe psychological thriller "Unhinged," which is set to be the first major new theatrical release since the coronavirus outbreak shut down multiplexes in March. Based on CNN anchor Jake Tapper's nonfiction book "The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor," the film follows a unit of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan as it battles against an overwhelming force of Taliban fighters.
Fathom Events, which has carved out its own niche in the distribution landscape with special screenings of musical performances, faith-based content and classic films, is partnering with Screen Media to bring "The Outpost" to 500 screens, with each showing preceded by a special introduction from the film's cast members and behind-the-scenes footage.
“As we lead into Independence Day weekend, we are honored to partner with Screen Media again, with this being the first of many first-run films on our calendar,” Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt said in a statement. “Screen Media realizes the value and importance of the theatrical experience as much as we do, so it’s a partnership we look forward to continuing.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Fathom Events to bring this heroic tale to theatrical audiences everywhere,” David Fannon, president of Screen Media, said in a statement. "Independence Day is the perfect time for the country to come back to theaters, and 'The Outpost' couldn’t be a better movie for them to come and experience on the big screen.”
But while Independence Day may, indeed, seem like a symbolically fortuitous occasion to release a rousing, patriotic military thriller, it's far from clear whether moviegoers will feel comfortable flocking back to their local multiplexes then or if the theaters will even be open.
Two of the country's biggest chains, Cinemark and AMC, have signaled that they hope to open their doors in July. But while states including Georgia and Texas have already begun to allow theaters to resume operations with limited seating and other social-distancing restrictions, it is still uncertain when theaters in large cities like Los Angeles and New York will reopen.
And while audiences' pent-up demand for any sort of big-screen entertainment may be building, creating potential opportunity for smaller films like "The Outpost," most theaters owners only want to reopen if they can screen major studio productions and are pinning their hopes on Christopher Nolan's sci-fi thriller "Tenet," which Warner Bros. is hoping to release on July 17, to lead the charge.
In the meantime, with audiences remaining hunkered down, distributors are continuing to shift some planned big-screen releases to at-home viewing. Focus Features announced Friday that Jon Stewart's political comedy "Irresistible," which stars Steve Carell and Rose Byrne and had been slated to hit theaters on May 29, will be available on premium video-on-demand on June 26.
Tickets for "The Outpost" and a list of participating theater locations will be available at www.FathomEvents.com.