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Corona Virus Effect On Theatres In The USA

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  • #16
    The AMC (former Carmike) location here in Lawton cut its maximum ticket sales per auditorium in half. It looks like AMC has adopted this policy for most of their locations. Their IMAX-branded screen in Lawton has over 550 seats, so it's cut down to no more than a little over 200 tickets available per show. It doesn't look like they've done anything to the reserved seating chart in the IMAX house to force any social distancing however. It looks like audiences could bunch in the center and back of the auditorium like they usually do.


    • #17
      According to and, this is the lowest weekend box office gross since September 2001 and the lowest grossing weekend for the top ten movies on the eleventh weekend of the year since 1995.

      And no new wide release movies on the calendar until April 10 (Trolls World Tour and Saint Maud).

      I'm not seeing the ray of sunshine here.

      What makes this worse (as I see it) is the fact that there's no real end date for this. If I end up shutting my theatre down for a while (and I never thought I would ever write those words), will it be for a month? A couple of months? A year? Two? Do I just say the hell with it, now I'm retired?

      If there's a prolonged shutdown, will there be enough theatres left afterward that a movie theatre industry will still even exist? I'm thinking that these big outfits that rent space in malls and whatnot won't want to pay ongoing rent and other costs indefinitely while waiting for an indefinite day in the future when they might be able to open for business again. And where do they find the managers and the staff and the cinema techs who have by then scattered to other employment since few people can afford to just sit and wait forever for a reopening date that might or might not come at some unspecified point in the future.

      To the extent that I've ever given it any thought (and that's not much), I've always just kind of assumed that I'll be running my theatre until the day I die or until I just can't do it any more. For the very first time I'm confronting the idea that I might not be able to do that.


      • #18
        So far, things are normalish here - we're playing "Call of the Wild" and have had decent crowds. Of course there's no way to tell if crowds would have been better without the virus, but there are no confirmed cases in our county (yet). And only 4 in Montana at this moment, all in the larger cities.

        For now we're just doing business as usual. I've implemented a few small enhancements to our usual cleaning procedures,and I've instructed the staff not to do any refills in the same cup -- they should use a new cup. And we're wiping down some surfaces with Clorox wipes that we used to just clean with Windex. I'm propping open the entry door to the lobby so people don't have to touch the handles. If it warms up enough, I'll do the same with the outside entry door, although I can't do that right now since it's 14 degrees here.

        The school is still open too, although they have declared that any student who has been out of state in the past 14 days, or been in contact with anyone who has been out of state recently, has to stay out of school.for two weeks. The state high school association cancelled the state basketball tournaments midstream, after two days of play, and declared the semifinal winners to be "co-champions."

        What makes this worse (as I see it) is the fact that there's no real end date for this.
        That is my worry, right there. I guess my hope is, with all the news coming from the cities, the smaller counties around the state will be able to hunker down and ride this out. But what happens if we THINK we've ridden it out, and new cases start appearing in, say, July? Does the whole merry-go-round start over again?

        My other biggest concern is, what are we gonna play? Six weeks worth of shows we were planning to play on the break have evaporated. We'll need to fill those spaces with something and still hope to pay the bills.

        I'm remembering the H1N1 virus a few years ago, which was uber-scary, yet nothing much was cancelled and people mostly seemed to go about their business as normal, at least around here. I can't help but think a lot of this panic has been stirred up by the news media. There's a lot of "the media should just STFU" going around on Facebook.

        Scary times, Makes me wonder what the NEXT big "thing" will be.


        • #19
          I know what you mean about what are you going to play. I figure I've got about four, possibly five, more weeks of movies that I could play and then I'll just run out of movies.

          My wife handed me a shopping list today and I trotted off to the grocery store as usual, thinking not much of it until I walked in the door. The place looked like the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. I don't think I've ever seen so many empty shelves. No milk in the fridge at all, of any size or brand. My wife uses dried milk to make bread and there was none of that on the shelf either. I was talking to the woman who's in charge of ordering the stuff (and manages the place on the weekends), and she said that they've sold more stuff in this past week than they usually sell in the week before Christmas and they just hadn't ordered the stock with that expectation. I mentioned the dried milk being gone and she said, "Yeah, and nobody ever buys that. We usually put out three or four bags and that's enough for a couple of weeks."

          I've never seen anything like this before. Especially when you consider that nothing (absoultely nothing) bad has happened around here. So far, at least.


          • #20
            this is all gonna end badly...

            All cinemas closed down in most european countries now. Same with all businesses dealing with entertainment, recreation. Bars, clubs, gyms, Kindergarten, schools, libraries, etc. closed. Currently, most closures are timed two to four weeks. Though two weeks of easter holidays over here are part of that period.

            I'd say, prepare for similar things to happen in the US.

            - Carsten
            Last edited by Carsten Kurz; 03-15-2020, 07:29 PM.


            • #21
              Well the good thing about all this is, when the theater haters start whining about "Look at the 2020 grosses, how bad they sucked" we can all say "It was because of the virus, you idiots."


              • #22
                I did a service call to a large mall 'plex in the northern suburbs of LA on Friday. It was a long and nasty repair, with the result that I didn't get out of there until 8.30pm. When I left, the place was a ghost town - no more than a dozen or so customers in the lobby.

                Originally posted by Jim Cassedy
                he Box Office itself was all closed up & covered with signs advising patrons that they had no B O staff, and could only buy tickets online or at a nearby kiosk.
                The gas station about half a mile from my home has stopped accepting payment in cash, for hygiene reasons. While I can live with that (though I hate paying by card at a gas station, because gas pump card readers are the highest risk of all for having been hacked and/or had skimmers attached to them), I was not impressed that they weren't willing to let me buy gas with my credit card at the cash rate, and still charged me the extra 10c a gallon they usually charge for paying by card.


                • #23
                  Yeah, stuff isn't looking rosy. While the bigger chains will probably recover from this, it's to be seen how many smaller independents survive this complete lockdown. While many governments have promised "emergency loans" for suffering small businesses, we all know they almost never end up where they're needed most.

                  If I'd be running a cinema that's still open right now, I'd call the studio to get some "classics" playing every night.

                  While the world ends, let's at least celebrate it with a bunch of good, mediocre and outright bad movies...

                  - The Andromeda Strain
                  - The Crazies (1973)
                  - Contagion (2002)
                  - Contagion (2011)
                  - Outbreak
                  - 28 Days Later
                  - 28 Weeks Later
                  - Cabin Fever
                  - Cargo
                  - Dawn of the Deah (1978)
                  - Dawn of the Death (2004)
                  - Twelve Monkeys
                  - The Last Man On Earth
                  - I'm Legend
                  - Shaun of the Dead

                  The list could go on and on. Yes, it would be a licensing nightmare... but I'm sure you'll grab some attention.

                  Ah, and if you applied for that liquor license, you should serve Coronas alongside it...


                  • #24

                    Bars, clubs, gyms and other public spaces closed until further notice in Quebec
                    • Recreational and leisure sites are closed until further notice, including bars, clubs, movie theatres and gyms.
                    • Restaurants can stay open, but asked not to serve more than 50 per cent of capacity.
                    • The closure affects ski hills, amusement parks, water parks, arcades, zoos and aquariums in Quebec.
                    • Indoor classes like yoga, dance, and spinning are closed, as well as spas and saunas.
                    • 39 confirmed cases in Quebec, up from 24 on Saturday. A further 1,186 cases are under investigation.
                    • Free child- and daycare for essential service providers (health-care workers, police, firefighters), as well as 60,000 free babysitting spots for children aged four to 13.
                    • The Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops is recommending all church events be cancelled or postponed, including funerals, marriages and baptisms.
                    • Starting Monday, the Order of Quebec dentists is postponing all non-urgent appointments for a two week period.


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Marcel Birgelen View Post
                      Yeah, stuff isn't looking rosy. While the bigger chains will probably recover from this, it's to be seen how many smaller independents survive this complete lockdown. While many governments have promised "emergency loans" for suffering small businesses, we all know they almost never end up where they're needed most.
                      It seems like the time has come to do the right thing and close, even if the virus hasn't yet been found in our community.. It seems selfish and wrong to risk lives by encouraging people to leave their homes and hang out together, no matter how much we disinfect. On the other hand, we still have our usual stacks of bills coming in and if we don't have movies, we don't have money. I don't want people to die, but I also don't want to end up out of business, bankrupt, and homeless. Because we live above the lobby. If we can't pay for oil, electricity, and rent, then no heat, no lights, no roof. These are not easy decisions small businesses are facing, especially if they're on shaky ground or just getting started, like us. I doubt any AMC execs are dealing with these kinds of stakes.


                      • #26
                        Last night, right before the latest CDC guidelines, we decided tonight would be our last night. I'm not even going to bother with tonight. 2 weeks we can handle. A full 8 weeks will be close to insurmountable. We're a non-profit , so can beg for money. My deepest sympathy to all of the commercial "mom and pops" out there who are going to get hit hard. And to all of their employees.


                        • #27
                          Use your marquee signs to strengthen and cheer-up your community! We started last night.


                          • #28
                            Great idea Carsten , lets here some good ones .


                            • #29
                              Deja Vu! - We all know that many theaters across the US
                              were shut down during the 1918 flu epidemic, but while
                              doing some research over the weekend, I came across
                              this item in BOXOFFICE Magazine, from December 1940:
                              You do not have permission to view this gallery.
                              This gallery has 1 photos.


                              • #30
                                Michigan has mandated all theatres close today at 3pm until March 30th.