Love it or hate it, you can’t deny Friends’ success. Running for a total of 10 seasons between 1994-2004, the show was responsible for some of the most iconic characters on television, pretty much becoming shorthand for a cultural movement. Now, fast approaching the 25th anniversary of the show’s release date, creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman have paired up with Fathom Events to put on a 3-night event to mark the occasion.
Across September 23, September 28 and October 2, four episodes from the series will play out in over 1000 theaters across the US. The original 35mm camera negatives will be remastered into 4K for an even clearer snapshot of the cultural time-hop. Featuring a selection of some of the best-loved moments from the series, chosen episodes will be released in the following order:
Night 1: Pilot –ReDo, The One With The Black Out, The One With The Birth, The One Where Ross Finds Out
Night 2: The OneWith The Prom Video, The One Where No One’s Ready, The One With The Morning After, The One With The Embryos
Night 3: The One With Chandler In A Box, The One With Ross’s Wedding –Part 2, The One Where Everyone Finds Out, The One Where Ross Got High
This short theatrical release is probably the closest thing we will get to a reunion. While the show blew up in ways the original production team probably didn’t see coming to begin with — it won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy as well as individual awards for Jennifer Anniston and Lisa Kudrow during its run — bringing the old cast back together in the present day was never on the table. Kauffmann dispelled rumours of a TV revival earlier this year, saying “the show is about a time in your life when your friends are your family. It’s not that time anymore”, and that it would “only disappoint”.
She may be right, but the important thing about this upcoming series of screenings is that it can bring fans together in a way that TV can’t. Sharing an experience of rewatching the show in a public space is a smarter idea and will likely bring out more nostalgia than through a modern translation of the series. After all, each star has gone on to forge their career and to bring them back now would only be underwhelming.
Ray Nutt, Fathom Events CEO, said:
“We’re thrilled to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Friends, a TV show that continues to impact culture and attract new fans from across generations. Fans will have the opportunity to come together and look back on some of the most hilarious and emotional scenes from the acclaimed comedy — this time in theaters.”
Lisa Gregorian, Warner Bros. Television Group President & Chief Marketing Officer, added:
“The cultural impact that Friends continues to have, 25 years after its premiere, is astounding, a true testament to the genius of Marta Kauffman, David Crane, Kevin Bright and the incredibly talented cast. It is so amazing to know that the series is still bringing people of all ages together. We could not be more excited to deliver these digitally remastered episodes to theaters — for the first time ever! — so that together, in a shared experience, our loyal fans can enjoy some of their favorite Friends scenes in a new way.”
Tickets go on sale this Friday (16 August) from the Fathom Events website, and the screenings will take place at 7pm local time at each of the venues.