Movie Theaters Struggling to Stay Afloat During the Coronavirus

In the past few months, our country has faced a dramatic shift in routine and pastime activities due to coronavirus. Businesses that normally provide entertainment to the general public are no longer doing so and the threat of bankruptcy for many of these establishments is all too real. One, in particular, being movie theaters. Due to the nature of the virus, being stuck in a small, dark room full of people increases the risk of contamination and spreading. Not to mention, the strict enforcement of stay-at-home orders and the closing of all non-essential businesses across the country means no more customers at the box office. But does this mean that movie theaters will become obsolete in the near future? Well, it’s somewhat complicated.

Movie theatre with people

Some concerns:

The stock market crash

One of the most pressing concerns is the recent crash in the stock market. The economic impacts of this pandemic stretch far and wide, affecting businesses small and large. More specifically, AMC, one of the largest movie theater chains in America is suffering the brunt of this pandemic with stocks decreasing every day. Although this number is expected to fluctuate, there is a possibility of them filing for bankruptcy if the numbers continue to decline.

The transition to online streaming services

Now that the general public has been advised to remain indoors many are taking advantage of online streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ to get their cinema fix. Although people were utilizing these platforms before the virus, there is no question that these platforms have seen a more recent increase in popularity due to the temporary shutdown of movie theaters. Because of this, some have speculated that the future entails less in-person cinema viewing and more at-home movie watching instead.

The anticipated post-virus anxiety

A lot of people have been shaken up by the recent turn of events related to the coronavirus. Anxiety and depression levels have reached new highs in people who either previously had it or have developed it through constant isolation from friends and family. Some worry that people will be less inclined to go out and socialize after the stay-at-home orders are lifted. Also, people might be more cautious to go into such large crowds like the ones seen in movie theaters until the smoke finally clears and people don’t think their health and safety are at risk by attending functions like these.


Some positives:

The virus is a temporary situation

The search for an effective vaccine and worldwide treatment is on its way. This means that eventually, people will be able to once again flood the theaters to watch their favorite movies. Although there is a temporary financial struggle for many businesses to stay afloat, an establishment as large and prosperous as the cinema industry has a very promising future ahead.

The unique viewing experience

The convenience of online streaming services does have its perks especially when all movie theaters are temporarily closed, but it is not comparable to the viewing experience of in-person movie theaters. Going to the movie theaters, sitting in a room filled with complete strangers and watching movies from a large screen and huge surround-sound speakers are just a few things you normally don’t get when viewing movies at home. This alone might continue to push business along for cinema companies like AMC who offer these unique viewing services.

The sense of community

Watching movies in the theaters has always been a popular American pastime activity. Whether it’s to take someone out on a date or go watch a movie with family and friends, people seem to enjoy it just as much as the movie streaming services provided online. With the current lack of human contact and socializing many argue that there will be a dramatic surge of people at the box offices after all of this is over.


If one thing’s for sure, businesses in our country depend on the people who utilize their services. Without people, movie theaters would cease to exist. There will continue to be a lot of speculation on the success of movie theaters but at the end of the day, the public’s response will ultimately decide the fate of movie theaters in the near future.

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