Two weeks into the spring Fantasy Movie League season, the whole thing is being suspended.
I suggested in my Awards Season wrap up that there might be issues come the spring because of the Coronavirus. Me of two weeks ago was somewhat more optimistic than me of today, sitting at home under a three week long “shelter in place order” that covers most of the SF Bay Area.
Because of FML I have a few movie relates feeds in my reader, and come Monday there was a slow drum beat of bad news. People were rightly afraid of somebody sneezing in a crowded theater, so the industry reported a 20 year low number for the past weekend box office despite having sent out reassuring press releases about sanitizing venues and spacing out patrons to maintain social distancing.
It also seemed clear that local governments might start closing non-essential business, especially those that packed groups of people into confined spaces for extended periods of time.
So the large chains began to announce they were temporarily closing all their venues. Regal, Landmark, Alamo Drafhouse, and finally AMC all announced they were going to remain closed for at least a few weeks. At last report it is estimated that 4,000 theaters are shut down across the country, about 80% of the national total.
And without that, there isn’t much of a box office to play against, so late Monday FML announced that the spring season was going to be paused. The text of the announcement, since I think you need an account to get to that link:
Temporarily Pausing Fantasy Movie League
@fmlqa · FML Quality Assurance
Mar 16, 2020, 4:20pm PDT
Dear FML Community,
Like you, we have been monitoring the changes being put into place to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Given the impact on the movie industry, including changes in premiere dates and movie theater closures, we’re anticipating challenges in being able to provide you with up-to-date box office information in the coming weeks. We also want to make sure we’re doing everything in our power to help our employees stay healthy and safe.
Due to this, we have come to the difficult decision to temporarily pause Fantasy Movie League.
You’ll be able to see the final results for the weekend of March 13-15, and your standings within your leagues will update based on that. That standing will remain until we resume. We don’t know quite yet when we will be able to start up again, but we will let you know as soon as we do.
Thank you for being part of the FML community. During this hiatus, we encourage you to stay connected with others through Chatter and on noovie.com.
The FML Team
Another sign of the growing crisis here. And it isn’t clear when things will return to normal or if there will be a new normal.