With movie theaters largely reopened across the country, the Directors Guild of America announced Tuesday it is reinstating a requirement that movies open exclusively on a big screen for at least seven days to be eligible for the guild’s award for feature film directing.

The rule was suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing films to be released on other platforms, such as video-streaming services.

“After over a year of darkness, theater marquees lighting up across our nation have been a welcome sight for our healing communities,” DGA President Thomas Schlamme said in a statement. “We celebrate the return of the important role that theatrical cinema plays in bringing together audiences as they collectively experience films as the filmmakers intended them to be viewed.”

Reinstating the rule means that to be eligible for the DGA Award for theatrical feature film directing, a film released after June 15 must have “an exclusive theatrical run of at least seven days prior to any other exhibition.” June 15 is the day California lifted the vast majority of its COVID-19 restrictions.

Films released on other distribution platforms on the same day and date as they premiere in theaters will be ineligible for the DGA Award.

Films that were released prior to June 15 will be exempted from the requirement.

The guild also announced that the 74th annual DGA Awards ceremony will be held March 12, 2022. The eligibility period will be March 1 through Dec. 31, 2021. The awards are traditionally presented during concurrent ceremonies held in Los Angeles and New York.

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