The event was organized by the United States of Cinema and will include nearly 90 theaters in 79 cities in 34 states (plus one in Toronto). Radford’s adaptation was released, fittingly, in 1984, and stars John Hurt as Winston Smith, a man who begins detailing life under an oppressive regime in an illegal diary. The April 4th event date is a nod to the date Smith begins his journal.
“Orwell’s portrait of a government that manufactures their own facts, demands total obedience and demonizes foreign enemies has never been timelier,” the United States of Cinema said in a statement. “The endeavor encourages theaters to take a stand for our most basic values: freedom of speech, respect for our fellow human beings, and the simple truth that there are no such things as ‘alternative facts.'”
The statement also noted the Trump administration’s plan to potentially axe funding to the National Endowment for the Arts, writing that they “see any attempt to scuttle that program as an attack on free speech and creative expression through entertainment.”
Participating theaters will reportedly donate a portion of the proceeds to local charities, or use the money to underwrite future educational and community-related programing. A full list of participating theaters is available on the United States of Cinema website.
Along with the organized screenings, Orwell’s 1984 has seen a huge bump in relevance since Trump’s election and inauguration. The week after he was sworn in, 1984 returned to the best-sellers list, while a theatrical adaptation is scheduled to arrive on Broadway this June after successful runs in the U.K. and Los Angeles.