The movie business is finally seeing some positive change for the first time in months. Not only have theaters in New York City and Los Angeles finally reopened, but Regal, the second-largest movie theater chain in the U.S., has announced it will be resuming operations in time for Godzilla Vs Kong. The chain's parent company, Cineworld, has had all of the chain's locations closed for six months.
Godzilla vs. Kong is arguably the biggest studio release coming to theaters since Wonder Woman 1984 arrived in December. In the months since, vaccine distribution has accelerated and moviegoers seem more willing to return to the box office. Regal will, as a result, open select locations in the U.S. on April 2, just days after Godzilla vs. Kong debuts on March 31. More of the chain's locations will be open by April 16, just in time for the release of Mortal Kombat. Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger had this to say.
"We have long awaited this moment when we can welcome audiences back to our Regal theaters and restore our essential role within the communities we serve. With the health and safety of our customers, staff, and communities as our top priority, we continue to take all the necessary precautions and abide by our CinemaSafe guidelines to confidently provide a safe and comfortable experience. With capacity restrictions expanding to 50% or more across most U.S. states, we will be able to operate profitably in our biggest markets. We will also be monitoring developments closely in the UK and across Europe as we set to gradually reopen across the world in line with local government guidance."
One important element of Regal's reopening has do with Warner Bros., the studio behind Godzilla vs. Kong. Warner Bros. rattled the industry by revealing it would release its entire 2021 movie slate both in movie theaters and on HBO Max on the same day in the U.S. While that deal will continue throughout 2021, part of Regal's reopening includes a new deal with the studio. Starting in 2022, Warner Bros. will provide at least a 45-day exclusive theatrical window for new releases. Mooky Greidinger had this to say about the deal.
"We are very happy for the agreement with Warner Bros. This agreement shows the studio's commitment to the theatrical business and we see this agreement as an important milestone in our 100 year relationship with Warner Bros."
The box office plummeted in 2020. Virtually all theaters in the U.S., and throughout much of the world, were closed for months on end. Billions in box office dollars were lost and the industry has largely struggled to get back on its feet. But things are starting to, slowly but surely, look up. Regal reopening is yet another much-needed bit of good news.
This also means big movies on the calendar, such as Black Widow and F9, are less likely to be delayed again. With theaters open and the box office on the up-and-up, blockbusters can soon make their way out into the world once again. This news comes to us via Deadline.