Los Angles, following New York by two weeks, reopened movie theaters this weekend (March 19 and 20) — and to the extent they were allowed to under tight new limits, fans flocked to them, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
National Research Group, which has tracked consumer sentiment related to movie-going since the early 1980s, stated that 57 percent of poll respondents reached nationwide before the weekend said they were comfortable visiting theaters — three times the 19 percent who gave the same response in April, WSJ reported.
The financial carnage for theaters was massive.
The Motion Picture Association, according to WSJ, put 2020’s box office haul at $2.2 billion, down from $11.4 billion in 2019.
But now that Los Angeles again is allowing theaters to open, WSJ reported, AMC Entertainment stated that 98 percent of its theaters are open, and Cinemark stated that 90 percent of its theaters are open.
According to WSJ, No. 2 U.S. theater-operator Regal Entertainment Group has not reopened in the United States.
If passion among fans was what the theater chains were hoping for in Los Angeles, they got it, WSJ reported. Ken Ruiz, 52, said at a theater: “I didn’t even care what movie was going to play. I just wanted to get back to the movies… It’s kind of an emotional day. I’m just so happy to get back to the theater.”
But even when allowed to open, theaters will have limited stock to show because production houses delayed releasing new titles, WSJ reported. Film fan Allison Sharpley said: “Seeing all the movies keep getting pushed back and back and back kept breaking my heart.”