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The terrorist attacks that hit Paris on Friday caused pretty much the entire world to stop in their tracks. Most businesses spent the weekend closed, both in memory of those who had died as well as a precautionary measure against any further potential attacks. Now however, it’s mostly business as usual even for venues that bring large groups of people together, like movie theaters.
Paris’ largest theater chain, Gaumont-Pathe, opened it’s doors for business Monday morning after being closed over the weekend. It wasn’t even the first chain to reopen as the UGC and MK2 chains were both open by Sunday afternoon. According to Yahoo, the three chains represent a majority of the screens in Paris and show most of the major US films currently in theaters like The Martian and Spectre. One theater, The Grand Rex, has been hosting a special screening of The Good Dinosaur ahead of its American debut and was also open on Sunday afternoon. These business decisions to reopen is a strong show of defiance considering that the French Prime Minister is still preparing the nation for the potential of additional attacks.
While most businesses keeping their doors open is likely not a serious threat, movie theaters are unique because they are major public gathering points. Other traditional gathering places for leisure, like sporting events and concert halls were part of the original attacks. We’ve unfortunately learned in the US how easy it is for those disposed to violence to commit it in movie theaters. Even so, theaters have not seen any significant attendance drop off here due to the violent episodes. While it’s unclear if the movie theaters in Paris are seeing the same traffic that they are used to, it certainly appears that the entire nation is attempting to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
While there is some fear of additional attacks in Paris, as well as other places in Europe, it’s likely theaters would be intentionally kept closed if there was any specific or credible threat against them. Hopefully this means that Parisian citizens can focus on returning to their normal life, which includes the occasional trip to the movie theater. An escape to something heartwarming like the new Pixar movie sounds like just the sort of thing that would do many people in France good after the weekend they’ve had.
The nation celebrated a minute of silence in memory of the dead at midday local time this afternoon. TV and radio stations, many of whom have returned to standard programming ceased to broadcast for 60 seconds and other major businesses also observed the minute, before continuing their normal work day.