How Long Will Movie Theaters Be Closed?
Virtually all of the more than 5,400 movie theaters in the United States are now closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Public officials have banned or discouraged public gatherings of more than a few people and asked that we all stay six feet away from one another. However, all of us movie lovers are wondering: how long will movie theaters be closed?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, movie theaters may be closed for at least 6 to 12 weeks, possibly longer.
Meanwhile, a former CDC director told CNN that “there is simply no frame of reference for this pandemic. Never in our lifetime has there been an infectious disease threat as devastating to society.”
He also referred to the struggle against Covid-19 as “a long war.”
All of this uncertainty has radically shifted the 2020 film release calendar, resulting in pushed release dates for films such as Never Say Die and A Quiet Place Part II. The planned summer 2020 release of Minions: The Rise of Gru has also been cancelled as the film waits for a new date.
Changing movie release strategies
Meanwhile, some films that were recently released in theaters, such as Onward and Bloodshot, have now been made available on premium VOD.
The stay-at-home order has also resulted in some movie studios planning to release their films straight to streaming. Dreamworks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, for example, planned to be released on April 10, will go straight to digital. This has angered theater owners and distributors, who fear lost revenue if studios don’t release films in theaters first.
However, some in the film industry point out that we were on a trajectory toward releasing films for streaming/VOD at the same time as in movie theaters well before covid-19. One thing is for certain: even as our business models change, the desire for quality films will never go away.