Patrick T. Fallon
Normally during this time of year, many blockbuster movies are being released and enjoyed. Trips to the movie theater is a huge tradition for many families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. However, in this year of uncertainty, many theaters across the country are struggling to survive due to the virus.
In an unprecedented year, the movie theater industry has been one of the most financially affected due to the fact that they are non-essential. Major cinema chains showed nearly 100% of lost revenue, forcing theaters to close for months as COVID-19 cases are still on the rise. Another challenge for these theaters is the fact that studios are deciding to release films to stream straight to on-demand, skipping the theaters.
However, there is still some hope for these theaters as they slowly reopen for business. Currently, the U.S. has reopened 21% of its theaters with extreme caution. Avid movie-lover and religion teacher Mr. Matt Winkelmann said he will go to a show—if it’s the right one.
“I really don’t want to sit in a movie theater for two plus hours in a mask if I could just watch the movie at home. Some movies are big screen movies though. Like the Marvel movies,” Winkelmann said.
However, finding a theater to go to may be a little tricky. Regal Theaters, the second largest cinema chain in America, just announced its temporary closing, effective as of November 12, 2020. But this isn’t the first time they’ve shut down—the company was reopened for two months beginning in late August, but its closing will affect roughly 40,000 employees.
“This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S.,” Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld said.
Theaters are having trouble surviving, but have found some creative ways to somewhat stay in business. Some chains have brought back drive-in-movies that show popular movies—but not new releases. Another easy option theaters have practiced is virtual screenings online to limit the gathering of crowds.
In a normal year, several movies would be scheduled to release during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. For example, the highly anticipated Marvel movie Black Widow was scheduled to release on November 6, 2020, but is now moved to May 7, 2021. A childhood favorite, The Tom & Jerry Movie, was moved from its Christmas of 2020 release date to March 5, 2021.
Even when the theaters open back up, companies will continue to be cautious. By limiting the amount of people in the theater, requiring the use of masks and spreading out the audience, big chains are hopeful that they won’t go back under. However, consumers may be more apprehensive of this plan.
“I would probably not go to the movie theater, because I would rather watch a movie at home. It also puts my health at risk, since I would have to sit there for a long period of time,” junior Paige Hunt said.
Regardless of what movies are being released, going to the movie theater may be risky. However, don’t let this cinema crisis wreck your holiday traditions! You can always sit back and enjoy a movie in the comfort of your own home.