Movie theaters are cultural institutions that can be more affordable than going to restaurants or sporting events, and many parents are eager for something to do with their kids outside of the house. But movie theaters aren’t an ideal place for social distancing, even if theaters limit capacity.
Dergarabedian believes that, when theaters do finally open, it will be at a limited capacity. And they will likely do “whatever possible to make theaters as sanitary, safe and clean as they can be,” he added.
For theater owners, limited capacity is better than no capacity at all.
However, as Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, points out, many of the films released on demand were first released in theaters and aren’t really big blockbusters.
“The reason we’re talking about movies at home a lot right now is because there’s a flood of new movies that you can buy digitally,” Robbins said. “That’s not going to last forever, because studios have no plans to release big movies at home. If that was the case, we’d all be watching ‘Mulan’ right now.”
Theaters also will need time to “bring back staff and do training based on the new health protocols,” Robbins said.
“In terms of the studios, they need to decide when to release their films to nab the biggest audience possible,” he added. “That depends on other studios scheduling their own films and when audiences embrace going back to the movies again.”