Covid’19’s affects on the Cinema Industry

2020 has been a interesting year with Covid’19 making it’s way through the world. It truly does feel like we are in a movie. Yet, the cinema industry has been suffering through the past ten months.


Kathryn Motes

Movie Tavern’s marquee use to be filled with all the upcoming movies to encourage people to want to come to the theaters to see them. Now the marquee is just telling people to visit their website for more information due to Covid’19 shutting them down.

The past ten months have felt as if we are living in a movie. Everything closing, mask being mandated, and going into lockdown from late March to early June. Our lives started to feel like a Sci-Fi movie from the 1950’s. However, during that period, we could not go to the actual movies.  

A once busy theater now temporarily closed due to a inconsistent schedule of new upcoming movie release dates. Due to Covid’19 movies that were suppose to be released in 2020 have been pushed back to 2021. (Kathryn Motes)

Due to Covid-19 making it’s way through the U.S. in March of 2020, large cinema companies closed their doors to theaters all over the country. The closing of theaters led to many blockbuster films having their release dates pushed back to the summertime. However, as the cases of Covid-19 only rose so did the opening dates of the movie theaters.

Regal Cinemas, the second largest cinema chain in the US, was one of the first to close their doors back in March. After being closed for almost six months they started to reopen theaters in late August in states, and counties that guidelines allowed them too. During their six months of being closed they have had to furlough more than 40,000 employees (about twice the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden). Even when the movie theaters were reopening, they could not pull in enough business to support all their employeesAs the movies were starting to reopen Covid’19 cases started spiking again. This led to Regal Cinemas closing all 536 theaters in early October.  

Covid’19 has negatively impacted the Cinema industryAMC, the largest cinema companyhas recently announced by the end of the year they will be facing bankruptcyBesides theater’s closing the film industry has lost millions in revenue with not being able to premier and show their movies in theaters. Many movies that were supposed to be released this year have been pushed back to 2021 or done in home premiers. In home premiers, and movie streaming has drastically grown since Covid-19 has hit.

That has been movie theater’s biggest competition in 2020. Disney had Mulan (2020) that was supposed to be one of their biggest releases all year. However, due to Covid’19 Disney did a home release. Current Disney+ subscribers could pay an extra $30 to see the movie at home. In February 2020 Disney+ had 26.8 million subscribers (which is about the population of Texas), then jumped to 50 million users in April 2020. More people started streaming which led the need for movie theaters to decrease. Users could watch brand new movies from their comfort of their own home.  

Here in Williamsburg, Movie Tavern (Marcus Theaters) opened for a few weeks late summer early fall. After being opened for maybe five weeks they closed again. On their website  they state, “Important Update: We have made the difficult decision to temporarily close some of our locations. As the entertainment industry continues to adapt to the impact of COVID-19, there are fewer new movie releases, which has directly impacted guest attendance. We look forward to reopening fully and reconnecting with all the communities we serve when there is a consistent schedule of new movie releases. Check the list below for affected theatre locations.”

Blank movie posters hang in front of Movie Tavern- Williamsburg. Normally filled with signs for new and upcoming movies. Are now left blank as there are no new movies to show. (Kathryn Motes)

This gives viewers unclear information on when the movie theater will be reopening. For being open for about five weeks it was not even enough time to bring in a ¼ of the revenue the Cinema  Industry made in 2019. According to the website, in 2019 the revenue jumped 3.6% to $45.1 billion dollars at the end of the year. Due to the Covid’19 it is estimated the cinema industry will drop 65.6% at the end of 2020. Equaling around $15.5 billion dollars at the end of 2020. This is a dramatic lost for the industry that will take years to recover from. 

In the end, Covid’19 has severely damaged the Cinema Industry with loses that will be felt from years to come