In a year when the pandemic has been catastrophic for the movie theater business, George Clooney believes an industry that has been around for more than 100 years will survive.
Clooney, 59, who is the father of 3-year-old twins, has learned firsthand that movie theaters have long been a refuge for parents to have a few hours of peace while their children are enraptured by the big screen or at home with a babysitter.
"People want to get out of their house — I got twins, man!" he told The New York Times. "And it’s still a great way to ask somebody out. Comedies are great in cinemas, scary movies are great in cinemas. So I don’t see it completely going away."
Clooney's newest film, "The Midnight Sky," had a limited theatrical release on Dec. 11 before being released on Netflix on Wednesday.
COVID-19 restrictions and public health recommendations to avoid indoor settings in public, especially for long periods of time, have been disastrous for movie theaters. While there was a resurgence of drive-in movies in the early stages of the pandemic in March and April, the future of the industry has looked dire.
The largest theater chain in the world, AMC Theatres, wrote in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Dec. 11 that its cash reserves could run out by next month, according to Variety. The industry was also dealt a blow earlier this month when Warner Bros. Pictures announced that all of its 2021 film slate, including "Wonder Woman 1984," a new "Matrix" movie, and several other anticipated films like "Dune," will stream on HBO Max at the same time they play in theaters.
"I mean, I was at Warner Bros. for 20 years and under contract with them — it was a real star-friendly studio," Clooney said. "It feels like all they’re trying to do is get HBO Max going, because you’re not going to recoup on movies like 'Dune' that are designed to make a billion.
"I always figured the windows were going to get tighter as we moved forward, but this is a little crazy. But I think it’s going to be fine. I really do. But I think it’s going to be fine. I really do."
When he wasn't filming "The Midnight Sky" and risking his health for his role, Clooney used the pandemic to spend some quality time with wife Amal and their twins, Ella and Alexander.
He has perfected a Christmas parenting hack to help the kids behave by using an impersonation of Santa Claus, while also teaching the twins a hilarious diaper prank to play on their mother. Alexander has also crashed one of Clooney's interviews and showed off his fluent Italian.
The past six years of becoming a loving dad and husband have been a big change for Clooney, who was one of the world's most eligible bachelors for years.
"Yeah, but I hadn’t found the person that filled everything up for me, that would have made me fully in love," he told The New York Times. "I dated a lot of really terrific women, but Amal showed up and suddenly it was like, 'Well, this is different on every level for me.' I don’t think I was actively saying, 'I’m just going to work on my career and I’m not going to have a wife.' That was the story that got told about me, but it wasn’t really the reality."