Theaters have been closed for more than a year, due to Covid-19. But Hollywood got to hear good news, when it was announced that theatres will be allowed to reopen from the 5th of March, albeit with strict rules and restrictions.
After Los Angeles, New York is the second city in the US which we can call a market for Hollywood movies. The question that arises here is, if the theatre industry will recover from the disaster it faced due to the pandemic or not?
The announcement was made by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during a press conference on Monday. Recently, Cuomo was criticized by the public for keeping the theatres closed while the gyms and bars were allowed to be open after the pandemic subsided a little.
As a response to this announcement, the National Association of Theatre Owners passed a statement saying, that all the theatre owners are very pleased that they are allowing them to reopen with the necessary precautions. He also said that it was only possible, due to the strict safety rules put in place.
It will not be wrong to say, that the pandemic had the most severe effects on the theatrical industry. And the reopening of theatres in New York is the very first step towards the resumption of this punishment.
Michael Barker, the co-president of New York Sony Pictures Classics, while talking about the reopening of theatres said, “It’s a symbolic moment”.
Although, theatres are now allowed to open, there are still some rules that need to be followed, such as, only 25% of the total capacity is allowed per auditorium. Moreover, wearing a mask is mandatory and the air filters are to be upgraded along with blocked-out seats.
Talking about the past year, when cinemas and theatres were completely closed, Nicolas Nicolaou said, “This was the worst horror movie. I don’t think any Hollywood director could have dreamed it up”. Moreover, he said, “We didn’t realize we’d be 100% shutdown for this long.”
Los Angeles and New York are considered the top movie markets. New York is an epicenter for small-budget films and a lucrative need for blockbusters. When theatres of these cities are closed, Hollywood production is pushed to its lowest.
John Fithian, National Association of Theatre Owners’ president, says, “The New York opening is very significant to the theater business in New York, in the nation and in the globe” he also said, “We in the movie theater business live off movies that play all around the country and all around the world. We keep seeing those movies leave the theatrical release schedule to move to later dates because there just haven’t been enough markets. New York is the most important of those markets”
After President Biden predicted, that by the end of May this year, almost every adult will be vaccinated, it is expected that the theatre outlook will brighten up but, it will take a long time.
Fithian said, “It’s not that we’re going back to record-breaking business this summer. We’re going to crawl, then we’re going to walk, and then we’re going to run. It’s going to take into 2022 before sustained profitability comes back into the business.”
Now, we need to wait and watch for what the theatres will receive after a complete reopening in New York.