Walt Disney executives will not travel to Las Vegas next month to attend the National Association of Theater Owners’ CinemaCon.
The company cited growing concerns about the Covid-19 delta variant as to why it is skipping the annual meeting of cinema owners and Hollywood studios at Caesars Palace, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter. Disney will be showing one of its upcoming movies instead of having a staged presentation.
The news comes nearly a week after NATO publicly disapproved of Disney’s day-and-date release of “Black Widow.” It’s unclear if this was a factor in the studio’s decision.
Disney representatives were not immediately available for comment.
For a decade, CinemaCon has been a star-studded event for studios, theater owners and the media to meet, network and share emerging content and cinema innovations. However, the pandemic sidelined last year’s conference and could still affect this year’s event.
As of Friday, the rest of the major studios will remain committed to hosting in-person presentations, although fewer stars are expected to attend the four-day convention.
While NATO requires participants to provide proof of vaccination or a Covid negative test within 48 hours of the event, many in the film industry have expressed concern about the recent surge in coronavirus cases. There are rumors that other studios, which were about to attend prior to Disney’s departure, could follow suit.
Last week, the White House declared southern Nevada, which includes the city of Las Vegas, a “persistent hot spot” for the virus. This means that the area has a high number of cases and may be at risk for health care restrictions.
Los Angeles County officials have warned residents against traveling to Nevada and have reintroduced indoor mask mandates for all vaccinated and unvaccinated people. However, Las Vegas does not require tourists to wear masks indoors.
Representatives from the National Association of Theater Owners declined to comment.