Lionsgate to offer 4 Fridays of free movies streaming live on YouTube

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With movie theaters shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, Santa Monica-based Lionsgate announced on Monday that the studio is teaming with Fandango and YouTube to live-stream four of its most popular library titles for free on consecutive Fridays at 6 p.m.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis will host "Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies," which begins Friday with "The Hunger Games," on Lionsgate's YouTube page and Fandango's Movieclips YouTube page, to be followed by "Dirty Dancing" on April 24, "La La Land" on May 1 and "John Wick" on May 8.

Curtis will be joined by guest celebrities and YouTube personalities, according to Lionsgate. Each week's program will also feature interactive opportunities for viewers, like real-time fan chats via YouTube Live, live-tweeting @Lionsgate, and movie trivia and movie-themed challenges.

According to a statement released by the studio, undisclosed donations by Lionsgate and its partners will benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, an organization that aids workers throughout the film industry. The foundation is currently providing financial assistance to theater employees furloughed by the COVID-19 crisis.

During the programs, a link to the foundation's website will be displayed to encourage viewers to also make donations.

"There's nothing that will replace the magic of seeing a movie together with your fellow moviegoers in a theater on a big screen, but this is a chance for America to come together to recreate the experience," said Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. "This is a great chance to show the country's theatrical employees how much we miss going to their theaters and how much we support them."

John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, added, "Throughout the 125-year history of the cinema, this is the first time that movie theaters have been shut down across the country. Whether it was the Depression, wars, disasters or local calamities, movie theaters have always been a gathering place where audiences can come together to laugh and be moved, reacting as one, to put their troubles behind them or forget about their hard week at work, and just get lost in the amazing stories on the big screen.

"Until we can gather again in our nation's theaters, we're grateful to Lionsgate for honoring the theatrical moviegoing experience and we are thrilled to join together with them over these next four Fridays, not only to see four classic movies for free, but also to allow fans and celebrities to share their own moviegoing memories," he said.