Movie theaters in New York City and San Francisco have been dark for a year now, but that changes this weekend. Both big box-office markets are reopening, with some major restrictions.
Theaters in both cities will be open at 25 percent capacity, adhering to pandemic guidelines for social distancing. That’s still better than Los Angeles; the cinema capital of the country remains dark.
While many theaters around the country are already open, some operators are holding off. Cineworld’s Regal Entertainment Group said it will keep its more than 500 U.S. theaters closed until the studios release their big-budget productions, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Disney seems to be doing just that. It is debuting “Raya and the Last Dragon” in more than 2,000 North American theaters. The company is also streaming the film, making it available to Disney+ subscribers for $30.
Some movies have also pushed up their release date to coincide with the theater openings. The horror movie “A Quiet Place Part II” will now premiere on Memorial Day weekend, instead of its scheduled September opening.
Movie operators have been upended by the pandemic, as lockdowns and Covid restrictions have left them struggling to survive. AMC Entertainment Holdings, which has 600 U.S. theaters, has repeatedly had to fend off bankruptcy. Last month, the company received a $900 million lifeline. Others have not been so fortunate. Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas Holdings filed for bankruptcy Wednesday.
[WSJ] — Sasha Jones