Call it the battle of the Dirty Dancing fans.
The 1987 summer sleeper smash starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey suddenly is the hottest movie on the Net. At least for today.
Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies has chosen the pic for their communal theatrical experience tonight, streaming for free on the studio’s YouTube page and Fandango’s Movieclips YouTube page beginning at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and hosted by Jamie Lee Curtis. Meanwhile AFI’s Movie Club (coincidentally?) also has made the film its choice for fans today with an announcement from Natalie Portman, who calls Dirty Dancing “the movie I have watched most in my life” (watch her clip below). AFI points out it resides on three different lists of their all-timers including as one of the 100 greatest love stories, and 100 Greatest Movie Songs for the Oscar-winning and chart-topping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” To watch it, though, like all AFI Movie Club titles, you will be directed to iTunes, Prime, Freeform, and other streaming sites which charge a $3.99 rental fee. AFI separately supplies extras from their archives of its site and also points out it cross promotes selections with others if fans have the opportunity to watch a film for free such as they are doing with Lionsgate tonight , and did with TCM for Ben-Hur on Easter.
As previously announced by Deadline, Lionsgate included the Dirty Dancing date back on April 13 when it released the lineup of films in its library being offered as a livestream for free every Friday through May 8. The Hunger Games launched the program last week, and it will continue on May 1 with La La Land and May 8 with John Wick, the latter requiring age registration. The studio is presenting the program in association with YouTube, Fandango and exhibition partners including the National Association of Theatre Owners, AMC, Regal and Cinemark. They hope to raise money for exhibition’s favorite charity, the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, which is providing financial assistance to theater employees furloughed by the COVID-19 crisis.
Lionsgate made an initial donation and is urging audience and partner donations throughout the event as well, and there is a link for that on the announcement page that was sent out today by the studio, CinemaCon and others. If you were really on top of it, you could have ordered snacks with special deals and codes from Popcornopolis and Snack Nation for the complete moviegoing experience — but that takes two days, and if you try to order them now I’m afraid Johnny and Baby will have already danced from the Catskills into the sunset.
AFI’s Movie Club was launched with an announcement from Steven Spielberg on March 31 of its initial choice, The Wizard of Oz. Since then AFI has kept it going with a steady stream of stars announcing daily movie picks including Robert De Niro (Dr. Strangelove), Brad Pitt (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Jack Black (This Is Spinal Tap), Sharon Stone (All About Eve), J.J. Abrams (Tootsie), Jessica Chastain (Moonstruck), Edgar Wright (Duck Soup), Halle Berry (E.T. The Extra Terrestrial) and Elisabeth Moss (When Harry Met Sally …) among others.
Both the Lionsgate program and AFI’s daily dose of classics were established to ease the burden of stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus crisis and bring attention to the moviegoing experience in whatever way they can. So it is up to you to follow the advice of either Curtis or Portman, or maybe both. But you better heed it because as the No. 98 entry on AFI’s list of the 100 Greatest Movie Quotes ever warns us, “Nobudy puts Baby in a corner!”
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