Signage outside the Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday, May 02, 2021.
Roger Kisby | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Walt Disney executives won’t be traveling 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, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, why it skips the annual meeting of cinema owners and Hollywood studios at Caesars Palace. Disney will be showing one of its upcoming films rather than giving a staged presentation.
The news comes almost a week after NATO publicly condemned 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 top-class event for studios, theater owners and the media to meet, network and exchange upcoming content and cinema innovations. However, the pandemic sidelined last year’s conference and could still affect this year’s event.
As of Friday, the other major studios are continuing their efforts to host personal presentations, although fewer stars are expected to be present during the four-day convention.
While NATO requires attendees to provide evidence of vaccination or a negative Covid test within 48 hours of the event, many in the film industry have raised concerns about the recent surge in coronavirus cases. There are rumors that other studios that weren’t there before Disney left may follow suit.
Last week the White House declared southern Nevada, which includes the city of Las Vegas, a “sustainable hotspot” for the virus. This means the area has a high number of cases and there is a risk that healthcare resources are limited.
Los Angeles county officials have warned residents not to travel to Nevada and reintroduced indoor mask requirements for all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Las Vegas doesn’t require tourists to wear masks indoors, however.
Representatives from the National Association of Theater Owners declined to comment.