Roll Camera: The Return of Theaters in The New Normal

The day has finally arrived. The one all movie goers have been waiting for. Theaters are opening back up to the public for us to pack the leather seats (some with seat warmers)… well, sort of pack them. But the question is… are we safe to go?

A sign for a closed AMC theater is viewed at the West Oaks Mall, Sunday, June 21, 2020, in Ocoee, Fla. Many beaches and businesses have reopened during the new coronavirus pandemic. (Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP)

After stops and starts, movie theaters are officially ready to reopen on August 20 as Cinemark, Regal Theaters, and AMC Theaters; however they will be reducing their maximum capacity by at least 50% due to the Coronavirus outbreak that has ravished the country. AMC and Regal have already issued their mandates for moviegoers with visitors being required to wear a facemask before, during, and after the movie, social distancing standards that we’ve grown used to over the last few months, and ensuring enhanced cleaning procedures. It all sounds well and good to me but, as an avid moviegoer craving this news for months, what are we going back to?

Due to state mandates in relation to the pandemic, however, not all the locations are opening. AMC theaters is going through a phased reopening and for one day only, tickets at the theaters will sell for 15 cents. However, they won’t be for new releases. Regal and AMC have started promotions with classics such as The Goonies, The Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future, Black Panther, and Inception (celebrating its 10 year anniversary) are returning to the silver screen.

The only new 2020 release for this weekend is Russell Crowe’s thriller Unhinged with long gestating films like Bill and Ted Face the Music and The New Mutants finally being seen by an audience. Tenet will have a limited U.S. release on September 3rd.

Personally, I would love to go back into the theaters. While I have enjoyed the convenience of movies being able to be streamed online through Video On Demand and deep diving into independent films along with original productions from either Netflix or Hulu. While there might not be the blockbusters that pack theaters during the sweltering days of summer, some of the films were solid viewings.

Another problem facing movie theaters is the rise of Video on Demand and the streaming service. Movies such as The Lovebirds, Shirley, Scoob, Trolls: World Tour and upcoming thriller, The Woman in the Window, have found homes on streaming giants Netflix and Hulu. Even Mulan has been moved to streaming on Disney + (for a premium streaming price of $29.99). Who is to say that others won’t find a home on a streaming service in the coming weeks as we move into the fall and winter.

I will have some optimism that theaters will bounce back because the Coronavirus has devastated the entertainment industry since theaters and production for future movies have been shut down. However, almost all the big movies have moved their release dates out of 2020, possibly leaving theaters with questions about what to do in the fall and winter.

Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts and opinions about theaters reopening on August 20? If the theaters are opening near you, are you going to go? Or wait until it’s safer and more movies are out? Leave a comment and don’t forget to check out the Facebook page!

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