Movie Theaters Shut Down In Response to the Corona Virus

Movie Theaters Loss of Revenue During COVID: Will it Ever Be The Same?


Sophie Stoddard

New Town Regal Cinema shuts down in reposes to coronavirus

The box office stays empty as no new movies are released to movie theaters around America. (Sophie Stoddard)

With the coronavirus lockdown starting in March of 2020, many movie theaters around America have suffered greatly with closings and a loss of revenue. With social distancing rules in place and an increasing number of coronavirus  cases, will we be able to gain the full screen experience again?

Many stores and shops have reopened and resumed business in America since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020. As for movie theaters, the close placement of seated people inside has put a restriction on the reopening of theaters. With this closing, theaters have lost a source of income and many are seeing bankruptcy in their future. According to an article from Variety magazine, the well known AMC Theaters has suffered a 90.9% drop in revenues since the closure of their locations around the United States. They responded to the virus by allowing less than 50 people inside each screening room. By limiting their number of occupancy, they only earned $119.5 million this year, and have suffered a loss of $905.8 million. Regal Cinema, the second largest theater chain, had an immediate response to the virus as they shut down all of their 536 locations.

The closing of theaters has taken a toll on the employees, causing many people to become unemployed. Regal Cinemas, a subgroup of Cineworld, reported around 40,000 employees have been laid off since the closing of theaters. In an article on the official npr website, Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, made a statement saying, “This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S.”

Another factor that is included in the loss of revenue for theaters is the postponement of movies. Many movies delayed filming when the virus hit, so theaters were impacted by no movies to show on screen. Many movies such as Black Widow and A Quiet Place: II have pushed back their release date.

In October of 2020, AMC reopened 539 of its 600 locations. Although this is good news, this has not made a significant impact on the theater’s revenue, as many movies are not being released and Americans are not visiting these theaters, opting for at home streaming services such as Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu. People have started to feel comfortable watching movies from the comfort of their own home, which does not reflect well on movie theater franchises.

Movie theater posters remain posted around theaters to encourage viewers to watch from home. (Sophie Stoddard)

There is some hope that we will be able to set foot in theaters once again soon. Along with AMC, Regal Cinemas, Cinemark Theaters, and Marcus Theaters have reopened select locations with social distancing rules in place. Rules include masks being worn at all times, a distance between each group of seats in the theaters, and no food refills.

So, as we continue this battle against the coronavirus, theaters will try their best to ensure safe social distancing rules and invite us back into the alternate world movies provide us with. As more movies are released in theaters, companies such as AMC and Regal Cinemas hope to see an uplifting change in their business and revenue.