INDUSTRY NEWS

WRITERS ROOMS LIVE ON, VIRTUALLY: The writers' room is considered a sacred space in Hollywood; where staff goes to create magic, gossip and argue. Coronavirus has shuttered these rooms, and the majority of shows in production have been paused, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, scribes are still convening via Zoom, Google Hangouts and other virtual chatrooms to keep the creation churning. "We had to have CBS license Zoom because it works for free for 40 minutes and today's session was from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.," says John Hlavin, co-showrunner of CBS All Access' The Man Who Fell to Earth. "It takes about 10 or 15 minutes to get past the weirdness of the fact that you're all in these little screens," Hlavin says of the marathon sessions, which include six writers and two writers assistants. "And four of us on the call have kids at home, which takes a little management — but beyond that, conversationally, it's not that hard."

THEATER OWNERS ASK CONGRESS FOR HELP: The U.S. film industry, with its 150,000 or so employees, is asking Congress for emergency relief as theaters go dark amid the coronavirus pandemic. "As we confront this evolving and unprecedented period, we call on Congress and the Administration to ensure that America's movie theater industry and its tens of thousands of employees across the country can remain resilient," read the NATO statement. The 2020 box office will likely lose billions in revenue.

HARRY POTTER TO GET 4K RELEASE IN CHINA: In a tentative sign that normalcy may return to the world, Warner Bros. announced that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is set to return to the market in China when it re-opens its cinemas, possibly as early as this month. The film will be remastered in a 4K 3D version.

BBC HALTS SHOOTING ON PIRATES: BBC Films is halting the shooting of the Reggie Yates feature Pirates due to coronavirus concerns. "It is with great sadness that filming on Pirates has stopped. The COVID-19 virus has become a real and immediate threat and the health of our cast and crew and that of their families and friends is paramount to us," said producers Polly Leys and Kate Norrish. "This decision has not been taken lightly and we are being supported in this decision by our financiers BBC Films and the BFI. What Reggie has created – with all our amazing production team in front and behind the camera – is really special and we are as committed as ever to this project."