Movie theaters in the U.S. may be opening their doors again in late July, which could be good news for cinema lovers who have been cooped up at home. But this is a tentative hope on the part of theater operators and, even if the exhibition side of the movie business can get going again in late summer, it is going to be a massive uphill battle on every level to get things back to where they used to be, if that's even possible.
According to a new report, theater operators are currently planning for a late summer reopen, with strategy talks ongoing. This will be dependent on guidance from government health agencies, but assuming that works out, chains like AMC, Regal, Cinemark and the Alamo Drafthouse may be able to resume operations. Unfortunately, it will likely be without any, or at least very few, new movies to show, at least for a bit. Most studios have delayed their major summer tentpoles to later in the year, with only a few titles on the calendar for late July, including Mulan and The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run.
With theaters closed all around the world, studios were forced to delay major releases for financial reasons. The problem is, even once theaters do reopen, people may not immediately flock to crowded public gatherings. Theaters would certainly be taking extra precautions, such as extra cleaning and reduced capacity, but that may not be enough. Patrick Corcoran, spokesman for the National Association of Theatre Owners, had this to say about it.
"There are two schools of thought. People will be very tense and careful and nervous, or people will just be desperate to get out of the house. It's going to probably be a mixture."
Studios will probably want to test the waters and see how audiences react once theaters reopen before releasing an expensive blockbuster that needs to make a certain amount of money to be profitable. With that, theaters will need to look to old classics, such as the Harry Potter movies or Back to the Future to get things kickstarted once again. But if other theaters around the world don't follow suit, movies such as Wonder Woman 1984, which is currently set for an August release, may hold off, as they rely on overseas box office to justify their massive budgets. Chris Aronson, president of film distribution at Paramount Pictures, had this to say.
"If there is great uncertainty in major parts of the world, I think there are going to be issues opening major films."
China had previously attempted to reopen movie theaters in parts of the country that were less populated, where things had seemingly cleared up. Similarly, the plan was to show old hits to put meat in seats. Unfortunately, Chinese officials shut the theaters down rather quickly and they have remained closed since. With AMC Theatres facing bankruptcy, and other chains struggling financially, time is of the essence. This news comes to us via Reuters.