Director Paul Greengrass predicts that people will be going back to movie theaters in “six months.” In an interview with BBC’s Today Programme on Radio 4, Greengrass discussed his upcoming historical drama News of the World, and touched upon moviegoing culture at large.

In a pandemic-free timeline, News of the World would be enjoying a lucrative theatrical run right now. Critics have praised the Western film, which stars an understated Tom Hanks as a Civil War veteran who travels the frontier, reading from newspapers. But the Universal-produced film, which came out last December, had a tepid box-office debut due to the ongoing closure of several regions' cinemas in 2021. News of the World was made available for Premium VOD on January 15, and will be available on Netflix in international territories within the first quarter of the year.

When asked if these present circumstances frustrated him, Greengrass replied, “Inevitably, yes. We made it for the big screen. But the movie industry is facing a great crisis, obviously. Production has been interrupted and cinemas are mostly closed across the world. The choice is what do you do.” He continued, "We could have elected to delay the release a year, but I didn’t want to do that. I thought it was a film that is relevant to today."

Greengrass is hopeful that the return to movie theaters will happen within the first half of 2021. "I think we’ll be back in cinemas sooner than we think, in six months I think we’ll start to go back," he stated. As the movie industry continues to shift among these new rules and regulations, Greengrass believes that “cinema will survive this dark time and hope for better days to come, and I do believe they will come.”

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