Movie Theaters and the start to normal life

Holley Law, Photo Editor

COVID- 19 has caused many places and businesses to close for the safety of the public, movie theaters are part that. Theaters like AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and other major theater chains are starting to reopen their doors to the public, after five long months of being shuttered. Due to Coronavirus causing public health worry, even with strict sanitary rules. Many people will still not be going back and theaters will have fewer people than before. 

According to a survey in August conducted by Morning Consult, only around 17% of consumers feel comfortable going to the movies. That’s down from around 20% in mid-July. “I suspect we’ll see a surge of activity opening weekend and if all goes without incident, a very slow return to normal. Like months, not weeks,” said Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations. Theater chains have to win over consumers who have gotten used to watching movies in the comfort of their own home and those who aren’t sure about the safety of sitting indoors with strangers for hours.

Health experts are worried that air conditioning units like the ones in the movie theaters can spread infected droplets around indoors. They have also warned that some moviegoers may remove their masks once the lights go down. AMC is requiring all guests to wear masks under its “Safe & Clean” initiative that the company has started. It’s also capping theater capacity and upgrading ventilation systems, but this has yet to be seen whether those protocols will give moviegoers a strong sense of security. Theaters are going to be setting people apart with seats between them to help slow the spread, should it come into the theaters. 

After several false starts due to a  rise in Coronavirus cases throughout much of the country, widespread movie-going is on the rise since the reopening of theaters starting in August. It’s a monumental moment for theaters and the film industry at large, with the loss of revenue. 

The next few weeks and months will give Hollywood an idea of whether the movie theater industry can bounce back after being shut down completely by a Coronavirus.