Movie Theater Chains Closing Over Coronavirus
A sign of the times.
Some localities have ordered theaters closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, AMC, Regal, and other national chains have announced that they’re closing nationwide.
AMC Theaters, the largest theater chain in the United States, will shut its doors nationwide for between six to 12 weeks.
The move complies with local, state, and federal directives to help fight the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Over the last few days, multiple states and cities have declared that venues like movie theaters, bars, and restaurants must close. The federal government also recommended that public gatherings shouldn’t exceed 10 people, making it impossible for movie theaters to operate.
“We are ever so disappointed for our moviegoing guests and for our employee teams that the new CDC guidelines that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 people make it impossible to open our theaters,” CEO Adam Aron said in a press release. “We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and look forward to the day we can again delight moviegoers nationwide by reopening AMC movie theaters in accordance with guidance from the CDC and local health authorities.”
AMC isn’t the only chain shutting down its operations for several weeks as the company grapples with the pandemic. Regal, another popular theater chain in the US, is also closing its doors. Independent theaters like Alamo Drafthouse and Nitehawk Cinemas in New York City have also decided to close. Prior to the closures, the box office saw its worst weekend in the last 20 years, hitting an unprecedented low, seeing a total of $55.3 million between March 13th and March 15th. Even before AMC and Regal made the choice for audiences, people weren’t going to theaters. Movies like Onward, Disney Pixar’s newest joint, would usually gross more than $100 million domestically over a few weeks. The movie has only grossed $60 million domestically and an additional $40 million internationally.
A sign of the times, I guess.
Going to the theater is something of an antiquated experience given how many of us have large screen televisions, surround sound systems, and thousands of movies at our fingertips for streaming whenever we feel like it. But we’re wired to “get out of the house” and some films, notably those in action genres, are better with a massive screen and, sometimes, a large audience having a shared reaction.
Obviously, that’s the opposite of what we want during a pandemic.