Walt Disney executives won’t be traveling to Las Vegas next month to attend the National Association of Theatre Owners’ CinemaCon.
The company cited growing concerns over the Covid-19 delta variant for why it’s skipping out on the annual gathering of cinema owners and Hollywood studios at Caesars Palace, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. Disney will screen one of its upcoming movies instead of holding a staged presentation.
The news comes nearly a week after NATO publicly decried Disney’s day-and-date release of “Black Widow.” It is unclear if this was a factor in the studio’s decision.
Representatives for Disney were not immediately available to comment.
For a decade CinemaCon has been a star-studded event for studios, theater owners and the media to meet, network and share upcoming content and cinema innovations. The pandemic sidelined last year’s conference, however, and could still impact this year’s event.
As of Friday, the rest of the major studios remain committed to staging in-person presentations, although expectations are that fewer stars will be present during the four-day convention.
While NATO is requiring attendees to present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours of the event, many within the film industry have expressed concerns about the recent surge in coronavirus cases. There are rumblings that other studios, which were on the fence about attending prior to Disney’s departure, may follow suit.
Last week, the White House declared southern Nevada, which includes the city of Las Vegas, a “sustained hotspot” for the virus. This means that the area has a high number of cases and may be at risk of experiencing health-care resource limitations.
Los Angeles County officials have warned residents against traveling to Nevada and reinstituted mask mandates for indoor settings for all vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Las Vegas, however, is not requiring tourists to wear masks indoors.
Representatives for the National Association of Theatre Owners declined to comment.