The Unprecedented Impact of Covid-19 on the Film Industry

By Pete Deaver ~ Guest Writer

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the first complete shut-down of the movie theater industry and halted the production and release of many anticipated films.

Movie theaters have been wrestling for years, trying to find a way to attract more people to their darkened theaters and freshly popped corn.

In the “before times,” when we were still allowed to see sunlight and stand closer than six feet, speculation often entertained the idea that Netflix and other streaming services would kill movie theaters.

Yet, despite the Coronavirus finally pushing AMC Theatres toward bankruptcy, and surely applying a financial strain to other chains, Deadline reports that it does not necessarily spell doom for the theater company. There are still many movies in development that have delayed their release instead of opting to release online.

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Kari Parr, the general manager of a local AMC movie theater, provided comment on how she sees the future of the movie theater experience post-coronavirus.

“I think we’ll be social distancing for a long time, it may become the new norm. I don’t think we’ll be selling out every seat in the auditorium, but instead we’ll cap it at 50-75% capacity and encourage people to spread out in each auditorium.”

She noted that operations at the theater will likely change in the future.

“There will be a huge focus on sanitation and cleanliness even more than there used to be. We’ll probably continue to wipe all high-touch surfaces once an hour or after each set with a disinfectant. I think some guests will be apprehensive about coming back immediately, but some people won’t think anything of it and come back like nothing happened.”

Greg Stephenson, a manager of another local branch corroborates her statement about cleanliness and attendance.

“We will definitely be cleaning and disinfecting everything for the foreseeable future. Many people will be coming back as soon as we are open because no one has been able to go anywhere for so long.”

Michelle Pannell, the general manager of Stephenson’s theater, agrees and thinks that this is not the end for movie theaters.

“I think it will affect how we clean and how many people are allowed in the theater at a time. I think we will stop doing refills on buckets. I don’t think streaming will take over because studios make their money from the box office.”

Take a look at this graph to see when your most anticipated movies are slated to finally arrive once theaters reopen their doors!