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Movie Theaters During Covid: Will This be the End

Many businesses have suffered over the course of the entire pandemic currently going on in the world. From big corporations to small businesses, being laid off has caused many individuals to shop less and in return, has caused businesses to shut down. One multimillion industry that some has been called into question is movie theaters. Back in March, millions of theaters were forced to shut down temporarily due to CDC guidelines. 

During this time, movies that have been finished still needed to be released, as well as the movies that were just released in theaters. To fix this issue, the film industry came up with the plan to be able to digitally rent the movies on platforms such as Xfinity on Demand. This allowed individuals to watch the newest movies in the comfort of their own homes. Having this option was great for families who had children that were home from school. It allowed them to watch movies such as Onward or Trolls: World Tour to keep them entertained. Also, it gave people the opportunity to save money when watching movies. They could order the movie with a small group of friends and split the cost. By doing this, along with saving money by not buying concessions, it allowed for the movie watching experience to be cheaper.

Couple watching television
Philip Goldsberry

Overall, to many individuals it was a great alternative to going to the theaters and showed another possibility to the movie watching experience. Having this new option made some question if it would ever be worth it to go to the movie theater ever again. It could be an option for the film industry to consider the fact that they will make good profit. Over the next few months, many articles came out with the pros and cons of making movies fully renting them on different platforms. Some pros include being able to watch it in the comfort of your home as well as the ability to save money. The biggest con is not being able to experience seeing a movie the first time on a big screen. It is something that everyone has different thoughts and opinions on. 

After six months, limited theaters made the decision to open back up with limited capacity.  One of the first big chains to do this was AMC. The way they got people back in was by having tickets be 15 cents. It was a brilliant marketing strategy to have 1920 prices in 2020. The tickets were sold out almost immediately at the selected theaters. They showed older movies and overall was a hit among viewers. 

movie theater with people
Photo by Krists Luhaers from Unsplash

As for the question if movie theaters will survive Covid-19, I believe that they will. The experience of watching a movie on a huge screen with other people is something that can not be replicated. Movies with a cult following such as Star Wars or the Marvel Cinematic Universe have the type of experience that is unique to where people come together and have an energy in the theater that is special. No matter if the theaters in the country were shut down for 6 month or 6 years, I feel as if there will always be those who will fill the theaters to have that experience again. 

Kate Renz

Virginia Tech '22

Public relations major minoring in cinema. In my free time, I love to spend time with friends and watch movies!
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