As Hollywood scrambles to stay active while preventing the spread of coronavirus, one international studio is ready to send people back to work — in China.
Legendary Entertainment has devised a rotation strategy that will allow its Beijing-based staff to return to work safely, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. Under the direction of CEO Josh Grode, 50% of the China staff will report to the office on alternating days of the week.
The division has about 45 employees in total, none of whom will be permitted to take mass transit (private transport will be provided). All will receive health screenings before entering the workplace, sources said.
The studio behind Amazon’s “Carnival Row” and the Timothee Chalamet reboot of “Dune” has had ups and downs since its sale to Wanda Group (diminished returns on the “Godzilla” franchise, hits in TV and with “Detective Pikachu”), though Grode is said to have extensively cut costs since joining in late 2017 and pulled the company into profitability.
Another insider noted that as China rebounds from its devastating coronavirus cases (COVID-19 originated in the city of Wuhan), Hollywood movies are likely to ramp up in China before the U.S. reopens cinemas. The Zhongying Golden Palm Cinema in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang reopened on Monday, Variety previously reported.
Only 40 new cases of coronavirus were identified on Monday, reports said, the lowest number in a single day since the outbreak. The United States is only now bracing for impact, under a nationwide 15-day lockdown directed by President Donald Trump.
Legendary’s domestic offices are closed and employees are working from home.
“We have a strong company financially and operationally and are set up to retain a significant amount of our operational capabilities while everyone is working from home,” Grode wrote in a memo obtained by Variety. “We will undoubtedly have more changes to our day-to-day lives — but life will return to normal, our company will continue to succeed and with thoughtfulness of action and intention, we will all be safe and healthy.”
Read his full memo to U.S. staff:
I hope everyone is safe and healthy. The events surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak continue to evolve quickly. As previously communicated, we will endeavor to keep you informed as much as possible. We continue to be in contact with the CDC, local health care experts and local first responders.
As we head into our first week of work from home, I want to reiterate that no one is required to come to the office and absent a need for someone to come to the office the strong preference is that you work from home. While some may consider coming into the office evidence of commitment, that could not be farther from the truth. Your commitment to the Company is evidenced by the work you do regardless of the location, the concern we have for our fellow employees and how you take care of yourself. Be vigilant in washing your hands, limiting group interactions and self-isolate if you feel sick.
We have a strong company financially and operationally and are set-up to retain a significant amount of our operational capabilities while everyone is working from home. We will undoubtedly have more changes to our day to day lives – but life will return to normal, our company will continue to succeed and with thoughtfulness of action and intention we will all be safe and healthy. Should you have any questions please contact HR or myself.