Live … from the big screen

December 19, 2007
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A few weeks back in my IBJ Daily A&E e-mail blast (you can subscribe for free here:,  I wrote about a recent presentation of a LaScala opera on screen at the Rave movie theater at Metropolis.

Last night, at Regal Circle Centre, I noticed a poster for the upcoming live broadcasts of six Metropolitan Opera productions there.

And I learned in today’s New York Times that the San Francisco Opera is joining the fray, broadcasting six operas a year directly to theaters. And Royal Opera of London has similar plans in the works.

Consider, too, that movie theaters are soon going to be screening the recent sold-out Hannah Montana teen rock concert.

So are we ready to go to the movies to see opera performances and current rock concerts?

Are there other uses for movie theaters we haven’t thought of?

What live events that you couldn’t make it to would you be willing to pay movie theater prices to see?

I’m also interested in whether an opera broadcast in a movie theater could be eligible for an Academy Award (but I don’t expect you to know the answer to that).

Your thoughts?
  • While not exactly A&E (depending on who you ask) my friends have watched Colts games at Greenbriar Cinema Grill and said it was a good time--I had to work Sundays last season when they were going or I may have joined them just to see what it was all about.

    There are also Oscar showings as a benefit for the Indianapolis International Film Festival. Was at Radio Radio this year and at the Greenbriar Cinema Grill in 2006, not sure of 2008 location.

    And I just read that a U2 concert--in 3D--was shown at Cannes and will be released soon. I paid for a pay-per-view of their 1993 tour and if I couldn't make it to a show I might check it out for the price of a movie ticket...
  • I think it is an awesome idea to use theaters for other uses. With so many theaters out there that might sit empty for an under performing movie, it just seems they could be used to broaden the horizons of interested folks who may not be able to get to see productions of this magnitude. I would pay to see it, and I would also pay to see certain sporting events. The thing is though I would love it to be in a Hollywood Bar & Filmworks venue (sans the right wing rhetoric from the owner).

    As far as Oscar eligibility, I can answer that. I used to run an awards show website until earlier in the year. An opera rebroadcast would not be eligible for Oscar contention because it was not produced specifically for the big screen. Since it is a stage show first and a movie second, it would not count. The same goes for if it were broadcast on TV or DVD first. If a movie is released in ANY format other than movie theaters anywhere in the world, it is not eligible for the Oscars.
  • Nick,
    Thanks for the insight.
    Question: Wasn't the movie Give 'Em Hell, Harry nominated for some Oscars? And I believe that was just filmed from the stage. When it comes to Academy Award eligability, is that any different from presenting La Scala's Aida in a movie theater (assuming it hasn't already been presented anywhere else except on stage)?
    Just curious.
  • Well, I think it comes down to the fact that Give 'em Hell, Harry was shot specifically for movie theatrical release. The Met and SFO are actually live broadcasts of a show taking place on their stage. Now, if they were to film it for distribution at a later date, then that would be another story.

    Also, Rule 2 of the Official Oscar rules state that a movie must be:

    d) for a run of at least seven consecutive days,

    e) advertised and exploited during their Los Angeles run in a manner considered normal and customary to the industry

    So, since these are live events, I figure they are only going to be showing on that night through a satellite broadcast, so the theater will have no way of saving the showing for those 7 consecutive nights. Plus, normal and customary is pretty subjective.

    Long story short...No, they would not be eligible. :)
  • I saw a brand new Opera telecast live from The Met at a NE side theater about a year ago. The late, great Beverly Sills did the Intermission Show which included a tour backstage and an interview with Domingo. I found it to be very interesting and a heck of a great way to catch a brand new piece of opera without having to be in New York. I plan to go more in 2008.

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