We haven't been able to go to the movies for weeks because of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), but could that change soon? Cinemas have a long way to go before reopening, and although some cinemas will soon be open legally, it will take a few months before you can get back into the multiplex.
Although a handful of states (including Georgia and Texas) have already begun to give theaters and similar companies permission to reopen at home after expiry of orders, theater owners are not necessarily on board. In a statement shared by The Hollywood ReporterThe National Association of Theater Owners said in April that they won't reopen the moment they are allowed to.
"While some states and locations are beginning to approve the opening of cinemas under certain conditions, the cinema industry is also a national one," said NATO. "Until the majority of the US markets, and especially the major markets, are open, new films are unlikely to become widely available," the statement said. "As a result, some theaters in some areas that are eligible to open may be economically reopened with a repertoire product. However, many theaters may not be able to open them."
The problems with reopening cinemas are complicated and involve factors that go far beyond government approval. Cinemas rely on a model of high-capacity screenings and concession sales. At a time when social distance could reduce capacities to 25 or 30 percent, they are probably not economical. Between complete restrictions and more careful people, it can take a while before it is financially reasonable and reasonably safe for theaters to risk reopening.
The other problem: there are simply not many releases that can be opened again. While a few films are still planned for the summer, almost the entire film season was decimated in the summer of 2020, with the films being mixed up to a year in the future. Even if more rural or dispersed regions can be safely reopened, movies are unlikely to be opened without the assurance of ticket sales from the largest metro areas, which will surely reopen last.
"If New York and LA don't actually open (this summer) – and that seems to be becoming increasingly impossible over time – a studio will never open a movie, especially not a tent pole. Science and education won't allow that." it, "said Jeff Bock, senior cash register analyst for exhibitor relationships USA today. Without the allure of a major event film and a certain sense of security, it is unlikely that the audience would want to return to crowded cinemas immediately.
Large film chains have already stated that they are aiming for late summer returns, although they may technically reopen this month according to some state guidelines. Deadline reported that the big chains Cinemark and AMC are both taking a longer-term approach.
"(Cinemark) is currently working on an opening date in midsummer, depending on health and safety regulations and the availability of studio content," said the company spokesman. "The first release currently planned is by Christopher Nolan principle It is important to note that the return of the theatrical exhibition to “normalcy” can take several months, due to staggered theater openings due to state restrictions, shorter operating hours, ongoing social distance and an increase in consumer comfort in public gatherings. "
In the meantime, the AMC statement says in part: "The health and safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. To be able to open, we also need a line of sight in a regular schedule of new theater blockbusters that people really care about excited about returning to their favorite theaters. These blockbusters are set to return this summer, starting with Warner Brothers & # 39; principle and Disney's MulanImmediately afterwards, many more important titles are planned. We expect to open our cinemas in the weeks leading up to these new blockbusters using the creative programming of immensely popular, previously released films. However, we should only do this right before the major new movie titles are released. "
Other film chains probably have a similar approach. Though the cinemas can be legally reopened soon, they'll likely be released in late summer at the earliest – and it will take longer for things to become half normal again.