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O Brother Where Art Thou Tim Blake Nelson and George Clooney at the movies

As all major theater chains are currently closed, the date for the reopening of 2020’s cinematic season has been a popular subject wherever moviegoers congregate on the internet. While concrete dates are still illusive, Cinemark has become the first chain to put out its plans to turn the lights back on and warm up the popcorn maker. This comes with a target date for the show to begin again: July 1.

Deadline reports that during a financial conference call held earlier today, Cinemark CFO and COO Sean Gamble mentioned the beginning of July as the target date for operations to resume. However, there are a lot of caveats that come with this turn of events, as the first stipulation Gamble mentioned in his announcement is that re-openings would be based on the law of the land where various locations in the Cinemark family are operating.

Employees are slated to allegedly come back to work towards the end of June, with the first two weeks of July taking advantage of “high profile library product” to attract audiences back to their local multiplex. Perhaps the most telling details are that, according to Sean Gamble, Cinemark believes it will take around three months for business to return to normal, with director Christopher Nolan’s Tenet being touted as the first new blockbuster on the Cinemark calendar.

Cinemark’s announcement sounds roughly on par with the hopes that AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron had previously espoused, with a mid-June timeframe mentioned as a hopeful benchmark. It couldn’t come at a better moment, as major studios are seeing their recent experiments with shrunken VOD windows apparently being proven to damage home video sales of films like The Invisible Man and Birds Of Prey, which have taken part in these new and exciting measures.

What’s also interesting with hearing this sort of reopening news is that it comes the week after Universal’s VOD debut of Trolls: World Tour broke records with its Easter weekend release.

Theatrical exhibitors like Cinemark obviously want to get back into the game, making the money they need to keep themselves in business after the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has been calculated to cost the major chains billions in lost revenue. However, as we saw with the Chinese film market, their limited reopening of theaters at the end of March didn’t last long before they were shut down yet again. So the decision to reopen Cinemark locations will be something that, even if they hit the July 1 target date, could be limited by the confidence of the public and theater management.

Something as massive as shutting down the majority of movie theaters in the domestic film market isn’t going to be undone with a simple flick of a switch or the wave of a wand. While we’re all looking forward to cinematic magic returning to the world in full effect, all involved need to remind themselves that it’s going to take some time, but the result will be worth the wait.

Should current plans be maintained, we just might see director Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in theaters on July 17.

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