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Following a similar announcement from Regal Cinemas and AMC Theatres on Monday, the third largest movie chain, Cinemark, has also decided to close its doors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The theater company announced today that all 345 of its movie theaters in North America will not be open until further notice. Check out the official statement from its CEO, Mark Zoradi:
Through these absolutely unprecedented and evolving times, one thing will not change, and that is Cinemark’s dedication to its team members and moviegoers. The decision to close our U.S. theatres was incredibly tough, but we know it is the right thing to do as global Coronavirus concerns continue to escalate. We will closely monitor recommendations of national and local governmental health organizations and look forward to inviting everyone to once again enjoy experiencing the movies with Cinemark.
Cinemark also operates Century Theatres, Tinseltown, CinéArts and Rave circuits domestically, which will additionally be closed for the time being, per Variety. On Monday, Regal Cinemas announced it would indefinitely close as well. AMC Theatres are also closing throughout the United States for anywhere between six to twelve weeks.
The recent White House conference was certainly a major player in closing of these major movie theaters. The official address asked that Americans avoid social gatherings of more than ten people. Theaters have recently been ordered to be closed down by the mayors of Los Angeles and New York City, along with restaurants, bars and gyms. At least nine other states followed these major cities' leads.
Starting with Universal pushing No Time To Die’s April release a couple weeks ago, other studios have also delayed the spring movies, including A Quiet Place: Part II, Mulan, The New Mutants, F9, The Lovebirds, Antlers and, as of today, Marvel’s Black Widow – which was expected May 1. Without major movies to release and with government action against social gatherings, the closing down of theaters was only a matter of time.
Last week, movie theaters such as AMC and Regal announced new policies in order to comply with social distancing. The theaters decided they would only sell tickets up to a 50% capacity and leave spaces between seats. But last weekend, record low numbers hit the box office. Even with Bloodshot, The Hunt and I Still Believe serving as new releases, the movie business saw the lowest domestic earnings in over 20 years.
Movie studios are starting to take their movies to digital and streaming formats earlier than usual. Universal decided to release The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma on VOD starting this Friday for $20. The planned release of Trolls World Tour on April 10 will be replaced with a VOD release as well on the same planned theatrical date.
Over the weekend, Disney put out Frozen II on its streaming platform a lot earlier than expected. Self-quarantining families couldn’t show enough gratitude to the company during this time. Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey is also coming to VOD a bit early on March 24. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the film industry.