Cinemark, the third-largest movie theater chain in the U.S., had announced a new reopening date for most of its locations. The company had previously planned to open the bulk of its theaters between July 3 and July 17 in anticipation of Christopher Nolan's Tenet. However, with Tenet and Disney's Mulan now pushed to August, Cinemark has opted to push its opening date to July 24.
The chain recently opened several theaters in Dallas, Texas to test the waters. Following that experiment, they opted to push to July 24. The chain will first open with a selection of movie classics and library titles before new movies begin rolling out on July 31. Russell Crowe's Unhinged is expected to be the first new movie to arrive. Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi had this to say in a statement.
"Cinemark is pleased with the moviegoer response and key learnings from our initial five-theater test-and-learn phase in the Dallas area, and we look forward to welcoming movie fans back into our auditoriums across the country to enjoy this year's newest films. Our multi-phased reopening plan was thoughtfully designed with multiple contingencies in place that enable us to efficiently adapt to today's ever-changing environment. We continue to pay close attention to status of the virus, local mandates and availability of new content while prioritizing the health and safety of our guests, employees and communities."
AMC, Regal and Cinemark all faced backlash recently when their safety measures for reopening were announced. Specifically, the chains initially said that they would require employees to wear masks, but merely encourage guests to wear them. AMC and Regal quickly reversed course following the intense response. Cinemark now says on its website that facemasks will be required as well as part of what they call "The Cinemark Standard."
While showcasing classics like Back to the Future and The Matrix at a reduced price may be able to entice some moviegoers, big, new titles will be necessary to have any hope of operating a profitable business. Especially considering that theaters will be operating with limited auditorium capacity. Tenet will now arrive on August 12, with Mulan dated for August 21. Bill & Ted Face the Music will follow on August 28. A Quiet Place Part II is currently slated for September 4.
The exhibition side of the movie business has lost billions in potential revenue around the world during the shutdown. Most theaters in the U.S. have been closed since mid-March. Drive-ins have helped to keep the box office alive to some degree, but it is still a mere drop in the bucket compared to what theaters would usually bring in for studios on a given weekend. The big question now is just how willing people will be to return once theaters do reopen. If the response is tepid, we could see more shuffling with the release calendar. We'll be sure to keep you posted as the situation develops. This news comes to us via Deadline.