Any place where crowds of people tend to gather have been hit hard by the pandemic and the closures that came with it. This includes movie theaters, which struggled to avoid closing by instituting social distancing measures in theaters, but eventually that wasn't enough. The closure of theaters has put the entire film industry in a difficult place, but now it looks like things will be starting to get back to normal, as the largest U.S. theater chain has confirmed plans to reopen in July.
While a specific date was not given, likely because theaters will be opening on different dates around the country, CNBC reports that AMC has confirmed it plans to have theaters open in July, in time for the slated release of Christopher Nolan's Tenet on July 17, and Disney's Mulan which follows a week later on July 24. We could see things opening even sooner than that with Sony's announced plan to open The Broken Hearts Gallery on July 10.
The announcement from AMC resulted in a strong boost to the company's stock price, though investors are still cautious as reopening is likely only a first step toward profitability for AMC and other theater companies. When theaters reopen they'll see limited capacity and many seats will be blocked off to allow for social distancing.
Unfortunately, when AMC theaters reopen it doesn't look like all of them will be back in business, the company is reportedly doing an analysis to see which of its theaters would be better left closed permanently, so AMC will almost certainly have fewer locations after this pandemic than it did before hand.
Movie theaters and movie studios have both been hit hard as there has been no place to exhibit the movies that were set to be released in April and May. Movies saw their release dates pushed back which ended up meaning theaters were going to have little to show. Now theaters and studios are in a tenuous situation. As long as there are new movies to show theaters will have something to screen. If theaters remain closed release dates will need to be pushed back further, but if release dates get pushed back there's little reason for theaters to open.
Of course, the other issue is going to be confidence from the theater going public. Even with the limited seating, there may be difficulty filling theaters to their new capacity if most people aren't willing to risk going to crowded places. Fears of a second wave of virus, and the fact that current COVID-19 numbers aren't exactly dropping in a lot of places, might keep people out of theaters even when the option is available.
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