Will Movie Theaters Survive the Pandemic?


Alex Joaquin

A quiet business day at the AMC Orange 30. Photo taken on Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 3:30 p.m.

Alex Joaquin, Staff Writer

After more than a year since the pandemic started and with vaccines on the rise, will people start going to movie theaters again?

Popular theater establishments like AMC, Cinemark, and Regal, shut down at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and reopened by the end of March. Ever since reopening, theaters have taken extreme precautions to secure a safe place for individuals.

AMC took the hardest hit and was on the verge of bankruptcy until they raised $917 million during the month of December to January. They raised or signed commitment letters to receive new equity or capital.
AMC is strict with their safety and health policies. These policies include wearing a mask regardless of vaccination, reduced seating to 50%, and social distancing. Their filtration systems have been upgraded and they use disinfectant sprayers regularly between each screening.

Both Cinemark and Regal Theatres have taken the same procedures as AMC theaters to give the safest immersive experience for their audiences. Movie theaters will return to normal eventually but the pandemic has changed the industry.

A shot of registers closed to maintain social distancing. AMC encourages guests to buy tickets online, but they can still be purchased at the theater.

A shot of registers closed to maintain social distancing. AMC encourages guests to buy tickets online, but they can still be purchased at the theater.
Photo taken on May 2, 2021. (Alex Joaquin)

I am a huge movie goer and have made many memories going to movie theaters with family and friends in the last decade.

One special memory was watching “Avengers: Endgame” with my group of friends. We laughed and cheered with excitement during the final fight scene, the whole experience was phenomenal watching the action on the big screen.

My cousin, Leonardo Santos is also a huge movie goer. As soon as he heard theaters shut down, he was devastated. Once theaters reopened, Santos decided to return to his local movie theater and check out the new theater experience.

“The staff impressed me by showing how serious they are about their theater’s policies. They kept the theater sanitized every few minutes, everyone wore masks, so I felt safe being in there,” said Santos.

After announcing theaters would close, I was upset because theaters were a big part of my life. Fast forward to more than a year later, I was not that excited to hear movie theaters were reopened due to streaming services.

I strongly believe the movie experience will forever change with the rise of streaming services.

With many films being delayed, studios decided to release their movies through streaming services such as HBO Max, Netflix, or Disneyplus.

There are lots of pros to watching a film on a streaming service. You can watch films in the comfort of your home, take bathroom breaks without missing a moment, and watch the film several times during the span of 30 days. No doubt this will turn off a lot of people from going to the movie theater.

Although streaming services provide a whole lot more, I am going to always enjoy the theatre experience.

On May 28, I plan to watch the upcoming film, “A Quiet Place 2” in the theater.