Who goes to the cinema?
Tom Bernard is. Bernard, the head of Sony Pictures Classics, sees the new British comedy-drama ‘The Duke’ this weekend at the Basie Center Cinemas in Red Bank. Attendees who purchase a ticket can bring a guest for free.
It’s part of Sony Pictures Classics’ “Bring A Friend Back To The Movies” initiative, which debuted last week during “Duke” screenings at the Angelika Film Center in New York City.
It’s about reclaiming post-COVID audiences.
“People have started coming back to restaurants and bars, but if you look at the math, it’s safer to go to the movies than to go to restaurants and bars,” said Bernard, a resident of Atlantic Highlands. “I was trying to get this message across. All of these theaters have these ventilation systems installed like they have on airplanes. They kept the air clean and there’s enough room in the theater for you to walk away socially.
A study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics in Germany, published in December, found that “good ventilation systems typical of movie theaters ensure that any infectious aerosols are quickly removed”.
“The air warmed by man rises. In particular, the so-called displacement ventilation, typical of cinemas, uses this effect,” Gunnar Grün, head of the study, said in a statement. “This has the distinct advantage of effectively removing aerosols and any viruses they contain.”
The “Bring A Friend Back To The Movies” deal increased attendance by 30% at the Angelika, Bernard said.
“Once you get people back in the habit of going to the movies, coming back to the theatres, you will see the business continue to grow as the bad press and the virus start to disappear from everyday life in terms of of danger level”, Bernard mentioned.
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Hollywood is looking to bounce back.
“A lot of companies have been holding back their good movies until it becomes a safer time,” Bernard said. “You have a slew of good movies coming out. You have Universal/Focus’s (“Downton Abbey: A New Era”) coming out Memorial Day weekend. This is a movie that will bring back that old audience.
Upcoming from Sony Pictures Classics is “Phantom of the Open,” another British comedy-drama based on real events, this time about golf, and “Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story,” which explores the music and culture of the famous festival and eternal city. Freehold native Bruce Springsteen stars in the film.
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‘The Duke’ tells the unlikely story of the theft of Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London in 1961. Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren star.
“There are a lot of people who think about it or maybe they’ve forgotten how awesome it was,” Bernard said of going to the movies. “Now you can bring an old friend you used to go to the movies with for free.”
“The Duke,” beginning Friday, May 5, at Basie Center Cinemas, 36 White St., Red Bank. thebasie.org. Buy a ticket to “The Duke” and receive a second ticket free as part of Sony Pictures Classics’ “Bring A Friend Back To The Movies” offer.