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Hollywood poised for big-screen gamble as theaters reopen during COVID-19 crisis

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After more than three months of coronavirus-mandated limbo, Hollywood is headed back to the big screen — and hoping that Russell Crowe’s road rage thriller “Unhinged” will jump-start the recovery.

The action film, due out July 10, is set to be the first wide release since US theaters shut their doors in mid-March. Christopher Nolan’s much-hyped “Tenet” will follow soon after.

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But will the gamble pay off for those quick-moving studios?

While top theater chains across the country plan to fire up their projectors in the first half of July, screens in badly-hit New York and Los Angeles don’t yet have permission to reopen.

And even with social distancing and sanitation measures boosted, moviegoers’ enthusiasm for piling into dark, enclosed auditoriums amid a possible “second wave” of virus cases may fluctuate.

AMC, the world’s largest theater chain, caused a stir by initially declining to mandate face masks, saying it did not want to be “drawn into a political controversy.”

It did a U-turn on that policy Friday following an outcry.

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Everyone from indie distributors to blockbuster studios will be carefully watching to see how the experiment with new theatrical releases proceeds.

“Hollywood is not a place where competitors are known for wishing each other well very often,” said “Unhinged” producer Mark Gill.

“And in this particular circumstance, everybody is hoping we do well.”

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His movie bucked the industry trend, shifting its release date forward from September, as larger studios gobbled up all the prime opening slots deeper into 2020.

Solstice Studios decided the lack of competing new titles, and dearth of other distractions such as major sporting events, outweighed the danger of flopping early — which in any case is reduced for a mid-budget, $33 million movie.

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“The more we looked at it, it’s risky of course, but it still looked like it was worth doing,” Gill told AFP.

– ‘Worth the risk’ –

“Somebody had to go first — it’s definitely worth the risk,” said Jeff Bock, a senior analyst for industry tracker Exhibitor Relations. “But I think the odds are stacked against it.”

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2020 Election

Montana GOP ticket sidelined after exposure to COVID-positive Trump, Jr. girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle: report

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The Montana Republican Party is facing a crisis after multiple members of the ticket traveled to South Dakota for Donald Trump's rally and were potentially exposed to COVID-19.

"Montana gubernatorial candidate Rep. Greg Gianforte and his running mate, Kristen Juras, confirmed Saturday they will self-quarantine after Gianforte's wife, Susan, and Juras attended an event last week with Kimberly Guilfoyle, who has since tested positive for COVID-19," KBZK-TV reported Saturday.

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‘Perhaps the most un-American speech ever delivered by an American president’: Ambassador McFaul

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President Donald Trump's address at Mount Rushmore was blasted as "un-American" by former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

McFaul retweeted a clip of the leader of the free world failing to pronounce the word, "totalitarianism."

"Trump has no idea what words like fascism and totalitarianism mean," McFaul, now a professor at Stanford, declared.

"To those who wrote this speech and those senior [White House] officials who approved this speech, shame on you. Perhaps the most un-American speech ever delivered by an American president and on the July 4th weekend no less," he explained.

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Nevada GOP ridiculed for ‘illiteracy’ after sending out garbled Independence Day message

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The Nevada Republican Party was ridiculed on Saturday for the Independence Day message the organization sent out.

Veteran Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston, the editor of The Nevada Independent, tweeted out a screenshot of the email sent by Michael McDonald, the chairman of the state GOP.

Ralston described the email as a "microcosm of NV GOP's incompetence (and illiteracy)" and mocked the party by saying "English is a difficult language to master."

Here is Ralston's thread on the Fourth of July message:

Microcosm of NV GOP's incompetence (and illiteracy) in Chairman @McDonaldNV's Independence Day message, which begins (I kid you not.):

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