Theaters Reopening - But Not In New York

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
AMC theaters to reopen next week, but not in New York
Publicly traded firm dusting off 400 movie houses across the country

AMC theaters will reopen more than 100 of its movie theaters on Aug. 20, with another 300 the following two weeks, according to Newsday.
None of those theaters will be in New York, however. The state, where less than 1 percent of coronavirus tests are coming back positive, has indefinitely pushed back the reopening of movie theaters, along with gyms and malls.

“Thanks to our data-driven public health policies and New Yorkers’ hard work, we have achieved — and so far maintained — one of the lowest rates of infection in the country,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo spokesperson Jack Sterne told Newsday in a statement, “but with hot spots popping up across the country, we are continuing to monitor how and when higher-risk industries like movie theaters can safely reopen.”

The issue for theaters is that large numbers of people are indoors together for two hours at a time, creating the potential for super-spreader events. Mask-wearing, temperature screening, capacity limitations, and air filtering and recirculation could ameliorate that risk.

AMC was nearly forced into bankruptcy after the pandemic shut down the majority of its 1,000 locations worldwide. To draw movie-goers back into seats, the chain is re-launching with a one-day, 15-cent ticket sale.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Lights out: Regal Cinemas to suspend operations
Closures in major markets and Hollywood delays are partly to blame

Cineworld, the owner of the Regal Cinemas movie theater chain, will suspend operations at its locations across the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The announcement to temporarily close 500 theaters came after a wave of postponements of big-budget Hollywood movies, including the new James Bond film “No Time to Die.”

“We are like a grocery shop that doesn’t have vegetables, fruit, meat,” Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger told the Journal. “We cannot operate for a long time without a product.”

Major movie theater chains, such as Regal, AMC and Cinemark, reopened some of their facilities in August ahead of the release of Christopher Nolan’s spy film “Tenet.”

But theaters in major U.S. markets, including Los Angeles and New York City, remain closed due to the pandemic. Cineworld’s decision to cease operations is partly because it can’t open its theaters in those cities, the Journal reported.
Movie theater owners who are worried about the survival of their businesses have called on the federal government for funding, the L.A. Times reported.
Others have complained to government officials in California and New York, since some indoor facilities, such as restaurants, bowling alleys and churches are allowed to open with capacity restrictions while theaters must stay closed.

“In the cinema, everyone is seated and looks in the same direction… in the restaurant you take off your mask and you sit one in front of the other,” Greidinger told the Journal. “It simply doesn’t make sense.”

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Cuomo: Movie theaters can reopen — but not in NYC
New Yorkers can travel to nearby counties to watch movies in a big screen

Movie theaters in some New York counties can reopen as of Oct. 23, with one big exception: For now, New York City theaters must remain closed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that cinemas in certain counties can resume their operations at 25 percent capacity, with a maximum of 50 people per screen, the New York Post reported.
If city dwellers want to watch movies on a big screen, they could travel to nearby Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties, which maintain low Covid infection rates and currently have no hot zones.
Along with New York City, movie theaters in 12 other counties, including Orange and Rockland, aren’t allowed to reopen yet.

Cinema chains have been ravaged by the coronavirus shutdown, and top movie theater chains blamed state officials for not allowing them to reopen, even as other facilities — including gyms and restaurants — have been able to welcome patrons back.

The crisis in movie theaters also affects the fate of shopping malls. As people were increasingly shopping online even before the pandemic, mall owners turned to movie theaters to bring back foot traffic to their facilities.
But the pandemic hit cinemas even harder than the retail sector, the Financial Times reported.
AMC, the largest movie theater chain, recently warned it could run out of cash by the end of the year, raising fears that more cinemas may be shut.
Earlier this month, Cineworld, the owner of the Regal Cinemas movie theater chain, announced to suspend operations at its locations across the United States.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Manhattan theaters sue Cuomo, de Blasio over Covid restrictions
Lawsuit argues that theaters are being unfairly impacted by pandemic closures

Eight small performing arts venues have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio for closing their spaces during the pandemic.
The lawsuit, which was filed Friday in federal court, seeks to overturn executive orders from Cuomo that have barred theaters from reopening, the New York Times reported. The complaint argues that shutting down the theaters “interfere with plaintiffs’ deeply-rooted liberty and property rights, including the right to work, right to contract, and right to engage in commerce.”
The lawsuit claims that the theaters have been treated unfairly by the government’s restrictions. Other venues, such as bowling alleys, casinos, gyms and shopping malls, have been allowed to reopen, while theaters remain closed, according to the Times.

All of the venues that are participating in the suit have 200 seats or fewer; those include the Gene Frankel Theatre in Noho, the Soho Playhouse in Soho, Broadway Comedy Club in Midtown and the Theater Center in Times Square. Catherine Russell, the general manager of the latter, organized the plaintiffs.
“Small theaters are much more capable of doing this safely, and if people walk into our theaters and feel safe and protected, they’ll be more likely to see ‘Hamilton’ or ‘Six’ next summer,” Russell told the Times.
In September, over 350 restaurants in New York City filed a $2 billion class-action lawsuit against city and state officials over restrictions on indoor dining, which were later lifted, albeit with occupancy caveats.

A month prior, 1,500 gym owners filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of New York to allow those venues to reopen.
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David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
NYC movie theaters to Cuomo: Let us reopen
Two weeks after cinemas opened in NY state, city owners urge reopening

New York City’s movie theaters are fighting to keep the lights on.
NATO of New York State, a trade group representing theater owners, sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an effort to urge the administration to greenlight the openings of cinemas in the city as the holiday season approaches, Deadline reported.

It’s been over two weeks since movie theaters were allowed to reopen in the rest of the state, but the five boroughs remain shut out. In its letter, NATO stressed that movie theaters have operated safely and would do the same in the city.

“After Disney pulled their two movies, we are trying to do whatever we can to save the Christmas release schedule,” Joe Masher, CEO of Bowtie Cinemas and president of NATO NY, told Deadline, referring to Free Guy and Death on the Nile, which have been pulled off the release schedule. A handful of big releases that were scheduled for 2020 — including Wonder Woman 1984 and No Time to Die, the latest James Bond film — have been pushed back.
Those delays have hurt struggling movie theaters throughout the country, as have Covid-related lockdowns. According to Datex’s latest retail rent collection report, cinema chains paid just 38 percent of rent last month.

Deadline also reported that Regal Cinemas will shutter the 18 locations the chain left open in New York and California effective Thursday. Those sites will stay closed until further notice.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

The Chilling Thing Disney’s “Black Widow” Said about the Future of Movie Theater Chains​

Opening weekend ticket sales in 98th place, but streaming revenues hit it out of the ballpark.

Some of the headlines about “Black Widow,” the Marvel movie that opened over the weekend, were quite a show. If “record” was mentioned without “pandemic” as qualifier, they lied. What the box office data did show is how difficult it now is for brick-and-mortar theaters to bring in the money, and just how much of a killing Disney, which owns Marvel, made by streaming the movie simultaneously over the weekend on Disney+.
During its opening weekend, Black Widow brought in $80 million at box office ticket sales in North America. This was only a “record” for any movie since March 2020, a “pandemic record,” so to speak.
But these ticket sales lagged far behind the actual records set during opening weekends by other movies. According to movie data tracker, The Numbers, those ticket sales were in 98th place!
And they were 78% lower than the record debut weekend for a movie, “Avengers: Endgame,” which premiered in April 2019 and grossed $357 million at theaters in North America during the first weekend.

The brutal reality for brick-and-mortar theaters now:
  • “Avengers: Endgame” played in 4,662 theaters the weekend it premiered; on average each theater grossed $76,601.
  • “Black Widow” played in 4,160 theaters over the weekend; on average each theater grossed $19,231. That’s what this “record” means for movie theater chains.
This 98th place does not include the impact of rising ticket prices. A lot of the movies that beat “Black Widow” debuted many years ago, when ticket prices were a lot lower, and it took a lot more tickets to get there, including “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which opened in November 2001 and grossed $90 million. At the time, the average ticket price was $5.66, compared to $9.16 in 2019.
Walt Disney disclosed the other fascinating thing about the plight of brick-and-mortar movie theaters: It had raked in $60 million from streaming “Black Widow” over the weekend on Disney+, for $29.99 per home, on top of the monthly subscription fee, no theaters involved.
Disney gets a cut of maybe less than 50% of the $80 million in box office ticket sales. But it gets 100% of the $60 million it took in via Disney+.
This was the first time that Disney disclosed this type of streaming data since it launched Disney+ in November 2019 – and it shows the very chilling prospects for brick-and-mortar theaters.
What changed during the pandemic was Disney’s decision to release movies simultaneously in movie theaters and on Disney+.
So now, some people can go to a theater to watch a movie when it premiers and make an event out of it; others can watch the movie at home when it premiers, the whole family for $29.99, which cheap soda and popcorn thrown in on top.
If studios had tried before the Pandemic to release a movie simultaneously in theaters and on their streaming channel, thereby breaking the theatrical window, it would have caused theater chains to boycott the release, which would have been the end of that story.
But the power relationship between studios and theater chains has changed forever. And studios have their own streaming services. If theater chains try to boycott a movie, so be it; they will just push more people to the streaming service.
This has effectively broken the three-month monopoly that the “theatrical window” – the time between a movie’s release in theaters and its release on other channels – gave to theaters. During those three months, consumers didn’t have a choice (other than a bootleg copy): If they wanted to watch the movie, they had to go to the theater. That three-month monopoly was never designed to benefit consumers, but to benefit movie theaters.
Now movie theaters have to compete with streaming from day one, and consumers have a choice. And consumers are deciding: Some still go to the movies and make an event out of it, but lots of others watch it at home. And this changes the equation of just how many brick-and-mortar movie theaters are needed, and what they can do to survive with the theatrical window broken, the monopoly gone, and choices for consumers wide open.