Hurricane Sandy proved that the old adage—“The Show Must Go On”—does have its limits. Across the tri-state area, events were cancelled and production on television shows and movies came to a halt. Even the lights on Broadway were shuttered for several days in the wake of the storm.
There were more than a dozen movies and 21 TV series shooting in New York when Hurricane Sandy struck, according to the Hollywood Reporter. All were forced to stop production when the city closed its tunnels and bridges and revoked shooting permits. One of CBS’ Blue Bloods' three stages, located in Brooklyn just a few blocks from the East River, even took on water.
Although David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon were able to hold shows without audiences, Jimmy Kimmel was forced to cancel the first of a week of shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The film premiere of Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law, was also canceled. Broadway theaters provided refunds to ticketholders for several days of cancelled shows. Carnegie Hall also cancelled performances due to the large broken crane hovering above it.
Although the area is starting to recover, permits are still difficult to attain in some areas of New York City. The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting recently stated that “it is issuing permits for exterior locations on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the effects of Hurricane Sandy on the City and the continuing recovery efforts.” Permits will not be issued in Zone A, including Staten Island, City Island, Coney Island, Red Hook, the Rockaways, Breezy Point and other affected areas. Any filming requests below 14th Street in Manhattan will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, while all other locations in Manhattan can be permitted, according to the office.
As the entertainment business begins to calculate its losses, it will also be closely examining its insurance policies. Carnegie Hall and other NYC theaters will likely be reimbursed for losses through provisions covering event cancellations and performance disruption. The same clauses could also apply to event premieres cancelled during the storm. Meanwhile, television and film productions should be able to rely on other provisions such as civil authority clauses, which likely kicked in when Governor Bloomberg revoked permits and locked down the city.
As Hurricane Sandy unfortunately highlighted, disaster can shut down the entertainment industry. Therefore, it is imperative to have comprehensive insurance to protect you from all types of losses, including those that are the most unexpected.