Question You Should Ask about how the future of Movie Theaters will look like

Although many movie and drama theaters are going ahead with opening up, the recent future of the theater looks bleak with many moviegoers choosing to stay home marinating a safe social distance. Some states are giving movie theaters the go-ahead to reopen, but that doesn’t mean theaters will be filled with eager moviegoers.

Rick Perdian — the best music travel consultant has brought up interesting facts about the future of movie theaters in the US.

What does the movie theater scene look like?

Mike Steinberg, Executive Director of Rox Theater says that

“I just don’t know that a lot of people are going to be coming back right now,” “In terms of the bottom line, this is a totally devastating impact.”

A News & poll (Ipsos) found that just 30% of Americans surveyed are comfortable going back to movie theaters soon after they open.

To help with COVID-19 prevention, many theaters decided to reopen theaters with only a half-capacity and likely mandate face masks at all times.

Many people enjoyed going to the theater before the lockdown and they will still enjoy going to the theater to watch most-awaited films. The fact that COVID-19 is still prevalent won’t influence their decision. This is what my theater owners are optimistic about.

Although it seems unlikely that the cinema halls will be packed at any time in the near future, being able to run the theater will help keep them afloat and pay salaries to the employees.

IndieWire reported that,

In Alaska, no walk-ins are allowed. In Alabama, theater capacity is capped at 50 percent; in Arkansas, it’s 66 percent; and in Colorado, it’s a maximum of 100 per auditorium. Idaho requires utilizing alternate rows, in addition to six-foot social distancing; Iowa allows 100 percent capacity within the context of six-foot distancing. 36 states allow indoor theaters everywhere. Seven states have some theaters open, by region.

Will Digital Streaming take over Traditional Cinema?

David Craig Professor of Communication, USC Annenberg, explained,

“The movie industry as we once knew it in the 20th century hasn’t been around for a while now. It’s certainly not going to bear any resemblance to what it will look like after this pandemic, when and if this pandemic ends.”

Netflix got 16 million new visitors in the first three months of 2020. The sheer increase in demand for streaming has made Netflix reduce the quality of its videos in Europe to ease the strain on internet service providers. The firm also hired an additional 2,000 customer support staff to handle the increased interest in the Q1 of 2020.

Netflix said some 85 million people had watched its original movie, Spenser Confidential, for at least two minutes — the cut-off it uses for viewing figures. Meanwhile, the documentary series Tiger King reached 64 million households.

Netflix said revenue increased to $5.76bn, up more than 27% compared to the same period in 2019. Profits almost doubled, from $344m in the first quarter of 2019 to $709m.

Amazon-owned Twitch has seen its viewership grow 31% from 33 million to 43 million (March 8th to 22nd), further highlighting these short-term changes to consumer behavior.

Many people have switched to digital content in the last 5–6 months. Many digital platforms have risen in recent times including Disney+

Although it’s hard to say that digital content will entirely replace traditional cinema as many people choose to watch films on the big screen compared to their laptop or home theaters, for a short time digital content will reign supreme.

We really had to change the way that we operate our business,” Jason Ostrow, vice president of development for dine-in-theater Star Cinema Grill in Texas, said during a panel in mid-May.

What can you expect following the reopening of Theaters?

Theaters are going to levy the utmost security and safety in place, which is for sure! Let’s check out other interesting things we could see in the theaters.

  • Many theaters have already decided to start their regular shows with the 6-foot distance between the audiences. Everyone will be required to check their temperature before entering the premise, and maintain social distancing at all times.
  • Expect to wear a mask at all times. Common Covid-19 measures in most states have included the use of face masks by both patrons and staff. Some venues may provide a disposable mask at the front door, but it’s more likely that you will be expected to bring your own mask.
  • Ticket counter and food stall will encourage contactless payment to ensure the utmost safety of both the audience and the staff. Be prepared to use the online payment systems and smartphone apps to pay for both tickets and food.
  • Temperature checks could also be part of the entrance process at theaters. While these checks are not perfect, they can weed out obvious cases of the coronavirus. The absence of a fever doesn’t mean that a person isn’t sick as they can be asymptomatic or just not showing symptoms of the coronavirus yet. Hence many theaters would face the challenge to ascertain whom to allow in.
  • Theaters are encouraging the audience to purchase their ticket online or through an app ahead of arriving at the theater. Most theaters already experienced less walk-in even before the pandemic; hence it is less likely to affect their sales.
  • Many small theaters chose to close down following the deadlock invited by the pandemic. Many big chain theaters remained floating however they aren’t making as much money. Many technology gurus opine that the large digital streaming company will take over the movie. Amazon on the other decided to merge AMC Theater.
  • Paternot tells OneZero. “And if Apple, Netflix, or Amazon-owned a theater chain, the company would make money no matter where consumers decide to watch movies. Even though everyone’s going on and on about ‘streaming is the future,’ …everyone still needs to get out of the house.”

Pandemic or not, people aren’t stopping from going out of their house. Like restaurants, shops, and shopping malls, movie theaters can tighten their safety measures to bring in the audience. Although it’s good news for many theater owners, staff, and audience alike, protecting oneself should be the key.

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