Any place where people gather together was hit hard by the pandemic. But movie theaters, being almost exclusively indoor-only locations have had a more difficult time than other industries finding ways to adjust. Theaters are open around the nation now, although seating is still largely limited to a fraction of maximum capacity, and there still isn't all that much being released in theaters to go see. But it's possible that could all change in less than two months, as New York City, which has been one of the most restrictive places in the country for movie theaters, expects to have them open to full capacity by July 1st.
Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he expects to "fully reopen" all aspects of the city by the first of July and he included theaters in his list of specific places he expects will be fully open, meaning, in that case, not only movie theaters but Broadway as well. If we can expect movie theaters in New York city to be at full capacity on July 1, that it seems likely that will be the case across the country, considering NYC has been moving slower than most other places when it comes to reopening.
After all this time it seems almost insane that we could see movie theaters at full capacity in less than two months, but it's maybe not that crazy. Most of California is currently allowing movie theaters to be open at 50% capacity, including Los Angeles County, which has also been an area of more severe restriction for some time. As vaccinations rates have been increasing the speed with which things have been reopening has also sped up, so perhaps full movie theaters in two months can be a reality.
This isn't just potentially good news for movie fans, but for movie studios as well. While we're still seeming some potentially big "theatrical only" releases planned for as early as this month, with Spiral and A Quiet Place Part II, there are some big movies coming out in July, like Black Widow and Space Jam: A New Legacy, that would love to be able to take advantage of the box office potential of full theaters.
Of course, movie theaters being able to allow full capacity doesn't mean they'll be able to achieve such numbers. While a lot of people may be ok going to movie theaters that are full, many, including some that are vaccinated, may be hesitant to do so. How quickly we really return to normal will depend more on the decisions of individual people than it will what is allowed by the various governing bodies.
Still, the decisions made by governments have to be the first step, and it looks like that step will be taken. There's always the possibility that the situation on the ground will change and things won't happen quite as fast as all this, but this appears to be the goal, and it's nice to see that such a goal is at least possible.