We started hosting a remote-viewing “Movie Night” at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic in late March 2020. With all employees working from home by then, gathering virtually to watch a movie on Wednesday nights and chatter back and forth on Slack about it created a ritual of togetherness when gathering in the studio wasn’t possible. Since the world was in a plenty serious mood already, we mined the good-bad genre of cult films. Cinephiles will recognize gems from this category: Commando. Escape from New York. The Poseidon Adventure. Anaconda. The Blob. And so on. We went on binges inspired by certain actors, soaking up fun classics from Patrick’s Swayze’s filmography: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, Point Break, and Road House. By the time we reached the one-year anniversary of stay-home orders, we’d watched 62 movies—the result of every Wednesday’s “main” title, sometimes followed by a late-night feature for those keen to stay up late and watch the likes of Foxy Brown, Horror Express, Piranha, and Westworld. We even held our own awards ceremony at the one-year mark, which we dubbed “The Hot Dogs,” a nod to a running joke about actor Frank Collison’s character in The Happening. Categories included Best Botched Accent, Aged the Worst, Excellence in Yelling, and Most Awkward Moment to Share with Co-Workers. Across it all, we’ve posted more than13,000 comments and gifs on our dedicated Movie Night Slack channel.
Movie Night has become a way to stay connected, laugh, debate, and riff off one another, a replacement for those essential moments of studio life. Following our inaugural title—Commando—on March 25, 2020, we’ve missed just one week, which was the week following that Schwarzenegger classic, when we weren’t sure if we should do this every Wednesday night. But one week off was one week too many, and we haven’t missed one since. Now, though, as vaccination rates have accelerated and public life reopens more and more, there are reasons to wonder about the fate of Movie Night.