Lionsgate is doing what they can to help bring the communal movie viewing experience back during this period of social distancing. The studio has announced Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies, a new series that will be hosted by Jamie Lee Curtis and will see hit movies air live on YouTube and Fandango every Friday night for the next four weeks. The series will kick off with The Hunger Games this week. The streaming movies are ree, but donations are welcome and encouraged. Proceeds from the event will go to help theater employees who are currently out of work, given the ongoing theater shutdown.

Dirty Dancing, La La Land and John Wick are also included in the programming lineup. The movies will air at 6 pm PT / 9 pm ET every Friday. Jamie Lee Curtis, star of Halloween and Knives Out, will be joined by special guests during the viewings. Each week's event will feature special programming and interactive opportunities for fans, such as real-time fan chats, live tweeting and shared experiences including movie trivia, movie-themed challenges, and more. Here is the full schedule.

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  • Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies Schedule
  • April 17 - The Hunger Games
  •  April 24 - Dirty Dancing
  •  May 1 - La La Land
  •  May 8 - John Wick

Proceeds from the viewings will benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping workers throughout the motion picture industry. Lionsgate made an initial donation and is also receiving donations from partners for the screenings, as well as viewers who can afford to donate as well. Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group had this to say in a statement.

"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. 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."
"Jamie Lee Curtis, a woman who literally grew up with the movies and movie theaters, is one of the world's biggest movie fans, so it's a real thrill that she'll be our host for this event. Let's have some fun watching some classic movies together at home while celebrating moviegoing!"

In addition to Fandango, Lionsgate has also partnered with the National Association of Theatre Owners, AMC Theatres, Regal and Cinemark Theatres for the series. Additionally, for those who enjoy snacks while watching a movie, Popcornopolis has partnered for the series and will be donating 10 percent of its sales to the cause, with SnackNation curating a movie-themed snack box with a special price and free shipping. John Fithian, president and CEO, National Association of Theatre Owners, had this to say in a statement.

"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. We love that so many people will be talking about what makes going to the movies so unique and memorable."

There is no telling when movie theaters will open back up again. That has been challenging for many lovers of cinema. While this can't replace the theatrical experience, it may well do the trick for the time being. Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies kicks off this Friday and can be viewed via the Lionsgate Movies YouTube channel.