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Awards season insiders are grappling with reduced FYC screening attendance

If you’re trying to snag a seat at an upcoming FYC screening, there’s probably no need to arrive early.

Multiple sources tell THR that attendance at some in-person events has dropped significantly, well below pre-pandemic averages. “It sucks,” says one awards veteran, a trend that is affecting the academy’s official screenings to various guilds.

How bad is it? Multiple sources have confirmed that some shows at the Academy’s Samuel Godwin Theater – capacity 1, 000 – have held less than ) Some of the screening guests. Resisting the downward trend are screenings and Q&As of A-list stars such as Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans , Rian Johnson’s The Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Ryan Coogler Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and healthy turnout at a string of SAG events, including talent like Florence Pugh and Keke Q&A Palmer.

“It’s COVID,” one source chided, while another cited a variety of factors, including online screening options, production commitments, overwhelming invitations to screenings, and social media coverage. A general shift in the calendar. “Pivot” is the buzzword of the season, as strategists mull over theater selection, realign invitation lists and, in some cases, triple the number of invitations to meet capacity. (Typical event thinking is that half the invited guests actually show up.)

“You can’t compare this year to last year or even the year before,” said one insider. “This is where we are now, this is the new reality.”

This story first appeared in the Dec. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter Magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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