Imagine this, you are in a dark room with numerous seats and the only source of light is coming from a flashing screen located in the front of the room. A scent of popcorn floats through the air as you reach down and take a sip of your cool soda but that isn’t what you’re focused on. Instead, your eyes are glued to the flashing screen of colors and brightness but soon the colors go away, replaced by black, signaling that it’s over. Have you guessed where this is yet? Well if you guessed “movie theater”, you’re right! Ever since coronavirus has become a part of our daily lives, the words “movie theater” probably haven’t popped up in our brain for a long time. The pandemic has definitely affected the movie industry without a doubt, but now that there is a vaccine, how will this affect the movie theaters that we’ve come to know?
Let’s start off by making one thing clear, when the day finally comes of when social distancing and masks are no longer relevant, theaters won’t just return back to normal. An analyst at Wedbush named Michael Pachter said, the theater industry is “not going to recover fully until consumers are confident that they won’t die if they go to the movies”. According to a weekly survey conducted by a global data intelligence company, around only 22% of consumers feel comfortable returning to theatres. Sadly, going to a movie theatre to watch a movie is just not a priority for most people after the coronavirus is gone.
On December 3rd, Warner Bros, the world’s second-largest movie studio, announced that all of their 2021 releases would be made available for streaming on the same day they hit theatres. This is a major blow towards the movie theatre industry since it was already struggling from the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has accelerated a trend toward in-home viewing that has been building for years. “What COVID did is make what was happening over the course of five to eight years happen in 10 months,” one film producer told CNBC. After a year of watching movies from home, going to the movie theatres might seem unnecessary.
There are so many other possibilities that were not listed such as the possibility of higher ticket prices, theatres being in concentrated places with a lot of people or a small chance that the American public will flood back to the cinema when it’s safe to do so. With the creation of the vaccine happening not too long ago, we will just have to wait and see what happens.