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Corona Virus Effect On Theatres In The USA

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  • #31
    I think it's great that everyone is positive the virus will pack up its bags and go home by the end of March. I wonder what makes them think it's going to be over in two weeks?

    I'm fully expecting it to last longer than that. I talked to a farmer friend of mine today, he said he thinks it's going to go two months... at least.

    In Canada, at least one province is preparing to declare the school year to be over and anybody who has passing grades will either graduate, or be promoted to the next grade. So that's about 10 or 12 weeks worth of school gone.

    Our film booker told me that all the studio people are already working from home, and there's a chance the studio offices will shut down, so they won't be able to book anything if that happens. I guess they figure the biggest markets are already closed, and others are dropping like flies, so what's the point in staying open. He told me he's expecting by the end of the week there'll be an order from on high somewhere that ALL theaters should shut down.

    We're booked with "Onward" for this coming weekend...I guess we'll see if we're still open by then. No cases in this county, as of yet.


    • #32
      They just closed all of the schools in Saskatchewan, so I guess that's my cue to stop as well.

      Sigh... I never thought I would see a day like this.

      I borrowed Arnie to make my announcement:


      • #33
        We are going to restrict ticket sales to 50 for each show, and we're going to add a showtime each day to spread out the crowd a little. And, we're sanitizing everything in sight as much as we can. Will close when we're told to close, or if cases start showing up in the area. I have no idea what I'll do with myself if I don't have the theater to go to every evening. The thought just sort of freaks me out.


        • #34
          Well, as I called it back on the 7th post of this thread:

          Welcome now to day and date STREAMING!!!

          Coronavirus: Universal to make current theatrical movies available for home viewing on Friday

          By Ryan Faughnder Staff Writer
          March 16, 2020
          1:44 PM

          Universal Pictures, in a bold move to confront the coronavirus’ threat to the movie industry, is collapsing the theatrical window.

          In an extraordinary step, the studio on Monday said it would make its movies available in the home on the same day as their global theatrical releases, beginning with DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls World Tour,” opening April 10 in the U.S.

          The company will also make movies that are currently in theatrical release available on-demand beginning as early as Friday, starting with the Elisabeth Moss horror film “The Invisible Man,” the satirical thriller “The Hunt” and Focus Features’ period comedy-drama “Emma.”

          The movies will be available on a wide variety of on-demand services, including those owned by parent company, Philadelphia-based cable giant Comcast Corp. and its European subsidiary Sky, for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99. The movies will also be released on platforms including iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime and FandangoNow, which is part-owned by NBCUnivesal.

          The decision is a radical departure from the longtime industry practice of waiting 90 days between a movie’s release in theaters and when it is available for home viewing. Theaters have long resisted collapsing the so-called theatrical window, fearing it would undermine their business by discouraging consumers from going to the multiplex.

          The Nation Assn. of Theatre Owners, the Washington-based trade group representing cinemas, declined to comment.

          The coronavirus pandemic has led to the shutdown of theaters and forced studios to reconsider their strategy for distributing movies. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have ordered cinemas to close in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Theaters have already been closed in countries hit hardest by the virus, including Italy and France.

          Ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada were $55.3 million for all films from Friday through Sunday, marking the weakest box office weekend in more than 20 years. Revenues fell 45% from the previous weekend.

          Receipts for Pixar’s “Onward,” the biggest movie at the box office currently, plummeted 73% to $10.5 million in its second weekend, an especially steep drop for a Disney family film.

          All three major new releases disappointed at the box office, with less than $10 million each. Lionsgate’s faith-based film “I Still Believe,” Sony Pictures’ Vin Diesel movie “Bloodshot” and Universal Pictures thriller “The Hunt” each underperformed. The latter took in a disappointing $5.3 million.

          Multiple studios have postponed release dates for potential global blockbusters. The Walt Disney Co. has delayed its live-action “Mulan” remake indefinitely, while Universal has pushed the debut of its upcoming “Fast and the Furious” sequel “F9" by nearly a year.

          For its current releases, though, Universal opted to let customers see them at home early.

          “Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable,” said NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Shell. “We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible.”

          The decision came after Disney on Sunday made “Frozen 2" available for streaming on its Disney+ service three months earlier than expected. Disney, in a statement, said it decided to push up the streaming release to provide families with “some fun and joy during this challenging period.” Launched in November, Disney+ has grown to 28.6 million subscribers so far. NBCUniversal this year is planning to debut its own streaming service, dubbed Peacock.

          Universal’s VOD move, however, is more dramatic than Disney’s “Frozen 2" announcement because the animated sequel had already been available for digital purchase. The Universal tactic mirrors a controversial strategy known as premium video-on-demand that had been tested years ago as consumers have clamored to see movies at home sooner. Theaters rebelled against that practice, saying it would destroy their business model.

          Studios including Universal and 20th Century Fox have long wanted to experiment with early home releases, but talk of radical change simmered down after Disney (the biggest proponent of the theatrical model) bought Fox.

          Universal in 2011 announced an experiment with an early launch of the comedy “Tower Heist“ to Comcast cable subscribers in two markets, Atlanta and Portland, Ore., for $59.99 via video-on-demand. The studio abandoned those plans after theaters threatened to boycott the movie.


          • #35
            I figured they would make the move with "non-blockbuster" titles a long time ago... that way they can brag about how the ticket sales weren't hurt at all, because they weren't expected to be all that high in the first place.

            Welcome to the brave new world..... hope we can survive in it.


            • #36
              All Cineplex and Landmark theatres in Canada are shutting down after tonight's show. Those are the two biggest chains in Canada.


              • #37
                I don't find it surprising movie studios would test the waters with offering movies still in theatrical release to view at home, for a high price. $20 for a 48 hour window to watch a single movie? That might work for a family or group of people, but I'm not paying that.

                Obviously the movie studios don't believe this, but they won't be able to make any big budget "tent pole" movies without having commercial theaters to showcase them. The studios might try initially for awhile, but they'll put the lid on production budgets very quickly. Big budget movies really depend on the separate platform commercial theaters provide to physically set them apart from the tide of TV shows and made for TV movies available on cable networks and streaming platforms. Movie studios are not going to blow $100 million or more on producing a single 2 hour movie that plays only on home TV screens. Netflix or Amazon might be willing to do that with a 10 part TV series, but not a 2 hour movie. And even they're not going to lavish that kind of production budget on just anything. Then there's all the advertising costs that go with promoting big movies. If theaters disappear so will those big movie marketing campaigns.

                By the way, AMC has shut all its locations for the next 6-12 weeks. It had been operating with a reduced ticket sales policy the past few days. But with no significant new releases coming up there is little point in staying open, even if they could keep the theaters sanitized and safe.

                New Vision Theaters, the company that runs the little Central Mall 12-plex in downtown Lawton, is keeping most of its theaters open for now. Lawton's City Council met last night in an emergency session. The Mayor officially declared a state of emergency. Public schools are already closed til April. City Council sessions are not open to the public. Hospitals and senior living centers already have strict limits in place. Visitation at the county jail and GEO prison is suspended. They haven't mandated bars, restaurants or other places of business to close. But they are mandating social distancing limits on public buses and other public places. Crowds are limited to 49 or fewer people in any given place. The City Council says this mandate is fluid and can change as they continually evaluate the situation. Our town has no confirmed COVID-19 cases yet.


                • #38
                  And now AMC joins Regal in shutting down. Reported on Breitbart:

                  AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas are taking the unprecedented step of closing down all of their theaters starting Tuesday in a precautionary effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The companies represent the largest and second largest theater chains in the country, respectively, with a combined 1,173 cinemas.

                  Their sweeping decisions will effectively bring the multi-billion-dollar U.S. exhibition industry to a stand still. AMC reportedly said it will shutter its cinemas for at least six to 12 weeks, while Regal announced via Twitter that its cinemas will remain closed “until further notice.”

                  The across-the-board shut down comes after federal health officials said Monday that Americans should avoid public gatherings of more than 10 people and refrain from any unnecessary social gatherings. Other cinema chains to have announced closures include Alamo Drafthouse and Landmark Theatres.

                  Prior to announcing their closures, AMC and Regal instituted social distancing measures by capping ticket sales at 50 percent of capacity so that moviegoers would have more seating space between them.The measures contributed to the lowest weekend box office total in two decades, not adjusting for inflation.

                  Last year, the domestic box office brought in an estimated $11.4 billion.

                  Several Hollywood blockbusters have already been postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic, including Disney’s live-action Mulan; No Time to Die, the latest James Bond movie; F9, or Fast & Furious 9; A Quiet Place 2; and Peter Rabbit 2.

                  AMC and Regal’s decision to shut their doors will almost certainly mean that Disney will postpone the release of the Marvel superhero movie Black Widow, which was set to open May 1, though no announcement has been made yet.


                  • #39
                    its going to be a bad year for cnema industry , specially for those small cinema companyes (like the one i work) here in Mexico we still working but every day less and less people visit us and i think the goverment will soon start to close those places.
                    i wish all you and your familyes are ok and hope this will end soon.

                    Mike Moreno


                    • #40
                      The article linked below postulates that that the movie theatre industry will bounce back stronger than ever when this is over because of the backlog of new movies, and most venues have multiple auditoriums to show them all. Live theatres and arenas can only present one attraction at time.

                      I don’t fully agree with this. While movie theatres are a high cash flow business, they can be a rather low profit margin business. I suspect that many independent and small regional circuits will not survive if the shutdown lasts for more than a month. The fixed costs (rent/taxes/insurance/etc) are going to kill them.


                      Originally posted by
                      Why The Cinema Industry May Be In The Best Position To Weather The Coronavirus Storm

                      Jim Amos Senior Contributor
                      Hollywood & Entertainment

                      To say we are living in surreal times is indeed an understatement. Those of us who follow the film industry are watching other entertainment venues shutter on an hourly basis and wonder when the time will come—it appears to no longer be a case of whether it will come—that movie theaters in the United States and Canada will be shut down due to fears of the spread of the coronavirus.

                      Cinemas around the world, from Southeast Asia to Western European nations like France, Italy and Spain have been instructed to close their doors by governmental mandates. We have not yet reached that level here in North America, but as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the Western Hemisphere we are seeing virtually every other type of entertainment venue close up shop.

                      It has put our industry in a frightening but understandable situation. No business wants to endanger the health of its customers. Closing down movie theaters would take a terrible toll on exhibitors, employees, suppliers, advertisers, studio workers, and virtually anyone who has even a remote stake in the business.
                      Today In: Hollywood & Entertainment

                      However here’s a point worth making. There could be a silver lining for the cinema industry that other entertainment industries don’t have and that is its ability to benefit from a much heartier second half of the year, which other sectors can’t claim.

                      For the sake of argument, let’s say that the coronavirus is brought under reasonable control by the end of June and at that time the government, and individual businesses, decide to take down the shutters and reopen. At that point, not only will the movie industry have six months of new releases ready to go with a moviegoing audience raring to get back to the multiplex, having tapped every remotely decent piece of content on streaming services, but it will also have a backlog of titles that have already been delayed (No Time To Die, Mulan, etc.) plus every film that would have been delayed from the time that cinemas would have closed.

                      The exhibition business is in a position to take advantage of that backlog more effectively and successfully than most other entertainment industries. For example, arenas and stadiums will only have so many open dates for the rest of the year so it’s not as if concert tours can suddenly restart and have their pick of availabilities, especially once major sporting events have begun to restart. Live theatre is in the same boat. There are only so many Broadway theatres to go around so bookers will have to choose between existing shows or new ones that had already been contracted to start in Q3 or Q4. Broadway houses don’t have 12-14 theaters to play multiple shows.

                      The same applies to bars and restaurants. There is no pent up demand which would drive consumers to frequent their favorite restaurant twice as much as usual. Seasonal industries such as ski areas would appear to have already lost their 2020 season. It’s a bit difficult to make snow in July.

                      The obvious counterpoint to this argument is: Aren’t there only so many movie screens to go around? The answer is: But have you ever checked out what’s playing in screen #12 at your local movieplex in September? Having 6-7 movies open each week in Q3 and Q4 rather than 2-3 means significantly higher box office grosses, higher concession sales, and an increase in staffing, certainly a win/win/win situation.

                      The thought of a late August time period, for example, with five new openings which include 2-3 already on the current release schedule plus an additional 2-3 which have been delayed from Q2 lifts the movie industry above most others in its ability to possibly salvage 2020. Will, if everything goes well, the second half of the year completely make up for what has/will be lost during these difficult times? Absolutely not. But will the film business be, in effect, starting from scratch once theaters reopen? Not at all. And won’t a second half of the year loaded with both scheduled and delayed movies be the best advertisement for cinema subscription plans? I’ll let you answer that one.

                      Lastly, streaming services, a major competitor to the exhibition industry, might very well have taken a hit by the time cinemas reopen because, as stated above, most content consumers would have already seen most of what Netflix, Amazon, and Disney + have to offer, but also with those companies shutting down their own new productions we won’t see as many new series on streaming during the second half of 2020 so the film industry would theoretically be under less of a threat from streaming than it currently is.

                      One of the most difficult things about writing about the film industry during the coronavirus crisis is that everything changes, literally, by the minute. So trying to predict what might happen in the movie business in the second half of the year is a complete shot in the dark so take all of this with the appropriate amount of caution.

                      But if things do work out even remotely this way then the film business might not end up 2020 in as big of a hole as other entertainment sectors. It just has to hang on until then and that will be the ultimate challenge.


                      • #41
                        Thanks to COVID-19, the future of movie theatres looks darker than ever


                        Four months ago, when the Paradise cinema was resurrected thanks to a shiny and expensive makeover, I half-jokingly suggested that the theatre might be the last new movie house to ever open in Toronto. On Monday morning, it announced it was closing.

                        As did every other independent cinema in the city, from single-screen cinemas like the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema to neighbourhood institutions like The Revue and The Royal to art-house multiplex the TIFF Lightbox. As did, eventually, the country's largest exhibitor, Cineplex Entertainment, which operates 165 theatres nationwide.

                        “The health and safety of our employees and guests is paramount and while measures like enhanced cleaning protocols and social-distancing policies were put in place, the time has come for us to do more,” Cineplex, which has about a 75 per cent market share in Canada, said in a statement released Monday night. “We greatly appreciate your understanding and look forward to welcoming you back soon. Until then, please be well and take care of yourselves.”

                        About 12 hours later, U.K. exhibition giants Odeon, Picturehouse and Cineworld, the latter of which is still in the process of acquiring Cineplex, announced they were closing their cinemas, too. Already, cinemas are shuttered in New York and Los Angeles, while American multiplex titan Regal, owned by Cineworld, has suspended operations at its 549 theatres “indefinitely.”

                        As precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19 ramp up across sectors, it is now impossible to see a film in a theatre in much of the world. And however long the pandemic lasts, the industry – the very idea of going out to the movies – has been irrevocably altered.

                        Even before the coronavirus outbreak, though, movie-going was in tumult. In an entertainment landscape where a world of content is available on the screen of your choice for a fraction of the cost of a movie ticket, theatre attendance has declined steadily. Combine the technological disruptions of the streaming era with a dearth of genuinely original films coming down Hollywood’s production pipeline – last year’s top 10 earners at the global box office were all either sequels, reboots or remakes – and a general unpleasant corporate multiplex experience thanks to high concession prices and an onslaught of pre-show advertisements, and it becomes increasingly difficult to see why anyone but the most hardened of cinephiles would want to step inside a darkened auditorium on a Saturday night. Even Cineplex has spent considerable effort investing in almost everything but movie theatres.

                        As much as there is to love and cherish about the movie-going experience – especially if you visit a slick and keenly programmed independent cinema like the Paradise, or are able to bask in the luxe art-house environs of, say, the TIFF Lightbox – the future of the theatre was dim before anyone uttered the word coronavirus.

                        Yet the industry erosions arrived this week more quickly than anyone could have predicted. First, the National Association of Theatre Owners cancelled their annual CinemaCon industry confab in Las Vegas, just days ahead of Vegas itself shutting down. From that moment – when theatre owners are worried about congregating in one spot, there’s little hope they can convince audiences to do the same – it’s been one gigantic, unprecedented development after another.

                        Disney announced that it would make Frozen 2 available on its Disney+ streaming service three months ahead of schedule, effectively wiping away the traditional window of time between when movies would exit theatres and be available on the home-entertainment market – a window that, up until this current public-health crisis, was a massive industry sticking point, with theatres threatened by streamers like Netflix that wanted to release movies online either the same day they were released in theatres or just weeks later. (The entire skirmish between movie theatres and Netflix over The Irishman seems entirely antiquated right now.)

                        A few days after the Disney move, Universal Pictures announced that, starting this Friday, three of its movies that were recently in theatres (The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma) plus one film that was set to open in April (Trolls World Tour) would become available to digitally view at home – and that a 48-hour rental period would cost just US$19.99, or roughly the cost of two movie tickets. (Trolls will be available in Canada the same time as the U.S., though details are still being worked on regarding the rest of Universal’s slate.) Then Warner Bros. revealed that its superhero film Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, which was released in theatres just more than a month ago, will be available for digital purchase next week, months ahead of schedule and priced at US$19.99.

                        Meanwhile, Canadian distributors are currently engaged in discussions about which of their spring releases might swap theatrical exhibition for digital release, and it is guaranteed that the same discussions are happening inside every movie studio across the world.

                        Right now, the industry-wide talking point is that these are temporary measures for an extraordinary, unprecedented cultural and economic reality. But what if everyone’s abundance of caution lasts not weeks, but months? Movie studios need revenue, and audiences are going to demand content – blockbusters, no matter how big or explicitly designed for a big-screen experience, cannot stay on the shelf indefinitely. Plus, some of those studios have newly launched streaming services that could use ever more subscribers. What better way for Warner Bros. to make a splash with its forthcoming service than announce it would be debuting the new Wonder Woman sequel online? (Of course, whether studios will actually be able to produce new movies is an open question; right now, most in-production films have shut down over contagion concerns.)

                        Anyone owning a theatre right now has to be completely terrified. Not only is the public-health situation dire, but now studios, their long-time partners in the theatrical experience, are turning on them. At the moment, anyone who cherishes the transformative communal experience of seeing a film in the dark has nowhere to go. April suddenly seems a long way away – but a clear, safe future for exhibitors seems even harder to glimpse.

                        Still, there is hope. On Monday, a cinema in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang reopened its doors after going dark for two months. Nobody came. But it’s a start.
                        Kind of a downer article.


                        • #42
                          The biggest struggle for all theaters affected by this is trying to hang on as long as it lasts. Invoices will keep coming in, leases have to be paid and in many cases, salaries too. I feel your pain, but it's shared with all those other affected businesses, now in similar dire straits. Let's hope that landlords will be understanding and that governments keep to their promises to help the little men, still the backbone of our economies, to survive this.

                          But, I'm not afraid it won't bounce back. I'm pretty certain that moviegoers that have essentially been put into a social quarantine for a prolonged time will come back to the movies, once theaters are showing movies again. People are social creatures and a night at the movies is still a social gathering, one of the reasons why movie theaters are still a thing in 2020, despite all what's being thrown against them.


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Marcel Birgelen View Post
                            The biggest struggle for all theaters affected by this is trying to hang on as long as it lasts. Invoices will keep coming in, leases have to be paid and in many cases, salaries too. I feel your pain, but it's shared with all those other affected businesses, now in similar dire straits. Let's hope that landlords will be understanding and that governments keep to their promises to help the little men, still the backbone of our economies, to survive this.

                            But, I'm not afraid it won't bounce back. I'm pretty certain that moviegoers that have essentially been put into a social quarantine for a prolonged time will come back to the movies, once theaters are showing movies again. People are social creatures and a night at the movies is still a social gathering, one of the reasons why movie theaters are still a thing in 2020, despite all what's being thrown against them.
                            I can only assume that there will be some kind of financial relief for these companies. This is unprecedented and many industries will need bailouts worldwide. I'd expect that governments will be printing a lot of money to do it. Since it will need to be done across the globe, everything should "even out" so that you won't get crazy inflation like would normally happen if a single government did the same thing.

                            Lets just say this. If the governments don't keep their promises, there will be a breakdown of society. I'm not trying to be dramatic but if governments essentially shut down the world but then don't do what is necessary to start it up again, the citizens of the world will revolt.

                            This isn't a natural economic cycle. A decision was made that slowing the spread of this virus was more important than a functional world economy so the economy was deliberately "paused" in order to achieve that goal.


                            • #44
                              We decided this morning to close after our show tomorrow night (Thursday). Apart from having a large chunk of my soul ripped out, it's a peachy day!

                              I think the authorities are now trying to outdo each other in predicting how long this will last. (Two weeks! No, four weeks! No, it'll be till the end of April! No, till the end of May! No way, this this is going till August! Not a chance, we're going to be sheltering in place for the next nine months! etc.)


                              • #45
                                I think that's a wise move, Mike. If anything bad does happen you don't want people pointing their finger at you, justifiably or otherwise.

                                Someone said to me yesterday, "Hey, you finally get some time off." I said, "Yeah, and that's the problem right there." I'm so used to running the theatre that I've kind of forgotten how to do anything else. And don't have the desire to do anything else, either.

                                So it's been a hell of a week. And no end in sight makes it that much better, too.