With superheroes and Pixar, this fall movie season looks a lot like summer

Best Actress laureate Frances McDormand attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball at the Hollywood & Highland Center, Hollywood, California on March 5, 2018. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
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By Chris Hewitt Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (TNS)

After a summer virtually free of new releases, the movies will be a little more normal this fall, even if theaters look different.

Theater owners have been in talks with Minnesota officials about increasing capacity from 25 to 50%, depending on COVID-19 testing results. But at least there will be films to see.

One key sign of the hybrid nature of attendance this fall is the annual Twin Cities Film Fest, happening online and at its usual home of the Showplace Icon in St. Louis Park.

“We will host approximately 10 in-person, social-distancing-guidelines-applied screenings at the Icon theaters. The majority of those will be studio fare, the Oscar-contending films we’re known for previewing,” said festival director Jatin Setia, whose event offered early looks at “The Favourite” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” is a strong possibility for the festival this year.

The Oct. 22-31 fest also will feature 60 to 70 titles streaming on its website, with Setia planning for 90% of the offerings to be local premieres. The event will benefit from coming on the heels of the big film festivals in Venice (which happened in person this year) and Toronto (which was virtual), because those fests persuaded distributors to supply films.

While films continue to pop up on streaming services (including Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” coming to Netflix), theaters will have a summer feel, since some releases shifted to fall, including Pixar’s animated “Soul” (Nov. 20) and Scarlett Johansson in Marvel’s “Black Widow” (Nov. 6), which may be delayed even further. (The new 007, “No Time to Die,” moved from the spring, but Bond films usually open in fall, so its Nov. 20 date puts it back where it belongs.)

If you’re a movie fan who grits their teeth through summer, awaiting the serious, awards-friendly autumn titles, you’re also in luck. Some of the smartest-sounding fare includes Bill Murray re-teaming with “Lost in Translation” writer/director Sofia Coppola for “On the Rocks” (October), Aaron Sorkin’s fact-based “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Oct. 16) and Riz Ahmed as a rock drummer who is going deaf in “Sound of Metal” (November).

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