The parent company of Regal Cinema in the United States and Cineworld and Picturehouse in the United Kingdom announced on Monday that they would closing their theatres temporarily. This comes as movie releases have been pushed into next year because of the pandemic, which includes the new James Bond film that will now be released in April 2021. The company felt like they couldn’t give customers the full movie experience since most commercial films have changed their release dates. This poses a question about the future of movie theatres: has the COVID-19 pandemic put the nail in the coffin for this industry and will it cease to exist in our lifetime?
Streaming services have become more popular over the last 10 years but have become almost essential this year because of the world having to quarantine in their houses. Netflix has seen several of its movies nominated for Academy Awards in the last couple of years, essentially “rolling with the big boys” from major motion picture companies. Netflix, Disney+, Amazon and HBO Max have released major films through their services throughout the pandemic so that its viewers can access them in the pleasure of their own home and without the worry of contracting COVID-19 from sitting closely in an confined space.
Once the pandemic is over and we can return to life as normal (this is not the new normal; it is only temporary), using these streaming services to view big picture movies may become the norm. People may realize they can create their own movie experience in the sanctity of their homes for much cheaper than going to the theater (I miss those days when popcorn wasn’t $10.00, and a ticket wasn’t $20.00). If this is the case, theatres will need to be creative with how they attract customers. A theatre close to my husband and I’s old house, which is an AMC theatre, has a bar, comfy, reclining seats, and a menu of food so that you could essentially have a meal while viewing your favorite picture. There may have to be more incentives to draw customers in, including the reassurance that they will be safe and healthy while visiting the movie theatre. If they are not able to successfully draw clientele into their business, they may cease to exist as we know it with a domino effect occurring with each major movie theatre company.
Of course, there is always a possibility that people will miss going to see a movie outside of their home and people will visit theatres in droves once they feel it is safe. A resurgence could occur, which would help them to catch up on all of that lost revenue during the last seven plus months. It’s always been nice to have the option to watch a movie at home or at the theatre pre-pandemic, but wherever you decide to watch, stay safe, curl up with your favorite snack and loved ones, and enjoy the show.
(Picture Courtesy of Freepik)