Having to adjust to the moviegoing climate during the times of the pandemic, The Academy is adjusting the rules a bit for movies that debuted at drive-in movie locations. Given the fact that traditional movie theaters were shuttered back in March with some reopening within the last few weeks in certain markets, thanks to a new amendment, movies will now be allowed to use dive-in screenings to meet the requirements for an Oscar-qualifying run.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted to allow drive-in screenings as part of theatrical qualifying release, according to a new report via “The Hollywood Reporter.” Movies can also still be released in traditional theaters but, given current circumstances, that is trickier than it would have been in previous years. You can take a look at the new qualifying terms below:

“1. Films which are intended for theatrical release, but are initially made available through commercial streaming, VOD service or other broadcast may qualify by making the film available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film’s streaming/VOD release or broadcast. 2. Films may qualify with a traditional theatrical release, completing a seven-day run in one of six qualifying cities (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta), screening at least three times daily, with at least one screening between 6 pm and 10 pm daily. Additionally, drive-in theaters in these cities will now qualify as a commercial venue, however, the screening requirement will be adjusted from three times daily to once daily. Films that have a theatrical release are not required to submit to the Academy Screening Room within 60 days, it is optional.”

This is another win for drive-in movie locations which, in a year that has seen bigger movie theater locations flounder, has allowed these relics of the past to soar. They have been a huge part of the box office, no matter how minuscule, since the pandemic forced locations like AMC, Cinemark, and Regal to go dark. Earlier in the year, the Academy had amended its rules to allow for streaming movies to qualify. Typically, a streaming service like Netflix would still need to give a movie a qualifying run in theaters. Studios now have multiple options when it comes to positioning a movie for a possible Oscar run. It is expected that these changes will be temporary but, given how much uncertainty is looming when it comes to the future of the movie business, long-term changes will certainly be needed and I wouldn’t be surprised if these changes didn’t stay in place for the foreseeable future.

Do YOU think this was a necessary change for the upcoming Oscar season?


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