Movie Theaters and Covid

When the Covid-19 pandemic began to sweep across the nation most worried about restaurants, schools, and small businesses in general. One business that is often overlooked is the movie theater business.
Restaurants have made it work by seating people outside, and many schools have gone online, but there is no option for theaters. Sitting inside, in a cramped area, for over an hour or more goes against most guidelines set to combat the spread and protect people. Many films opened to small domestic box offices as not everyone saw it necessary to risk traveling to movie theaters to see them. One of the most anticipated films of the year was Christopher Nolan’s long awaited “Tenet”. The film, starring such talents as John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, was expected to be a box office success seeing as previous Nolan films had done exceedingly well. On a budget of $200 million, the film only brought in $57.4 million domestically and $300.4 million in other territories. Adding the cost of marketing and advertising, the film was considered a failure.
Most films, it seems, learned from “Tenet”’s mistakes and were delayed. Blockbuster films set to release this year were pushed back to 2021 and even farther back to 2022. “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It”, “Dune”, “Godzilla vs. Kong”, and Daniel Craig’s last James Bond film “No Time to Die” are a few. Not only have films been suffering but the theaters themselves. The global box office has lost billions of dollars as the Chinese industry lost US$2 billion. Between March 13-15, North America saw its lowest box office weekend since 1998. The world’s second-largest cinema chain, Cineworld, closed its cinemas in October. If not even large cinemas can stay open, what does this mean for small theaters?
As less and less theaters stay open and less films are released it brings up a question of streaming. Films such as “The Witches” and “Wonder Woman 1984” are to be released on the streaming service HBO Max. Once on the site the films will be available for 31 days and after that they will still be in theaters. Early on many directors refused to allow their films to first go on streaming services. Christopher Nolan wanted “Tenet” to be released in theaters as well as “The New Mutants” director Josh Boone for his film.
FIlms available now are small, and they are growing smaller with each passing day. The selection becomes limited; more and more films are being delayed.
As the end of the year comes, many people turn to the Oscars to see what they will do with their limited options. Originally slated for February 28, 2021, the ceremony was pushed back two months to allow for more films to be released. As well as an extension, the academy will allow movies released directly to video. The ceremony will be held in person. No nominations have been announced.