NEW YORK — Movie
With few exceptions, movie
While Hollywood studios have
To counter the spread of the coronavirus, the Alamo Drafthouse is instituting “seat separation” policies, along with extra cleaning of
AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas, the country's two largest chains, on Friday each said they would fill their
The bans against large crowds vary across the country and are rapidly changing, forcing different strategies for movie
Just where cinemas fit into the growing retreat isn't as clear as some other cases. Movie
In many parts of the world, cinemas have already shuttered. China, the world's second largest movie market, closed its
In recent days, the major studios have reshuffled the releases of most March and April releases, including “No Time to Die,” “Mulan," “A Quiet Place Part II” and even some summer releases like the “Fast and Furious” installment “F9.”
But this weekend's movies were undeterred, including the newly releases “Bloodshot,” the Sony Pictures' Vin Diesel comic-book adaptation; Lionsgate's Christian romance “I Still Believe”; and the Blumhouse horror satire “The Hunt.” Marketing budgets often exceed productions expenses for today's movies. Once a film's promotion budget is spent, turning back is costly.
“If you’re asking me if I had a crystal ball, is now a good time to release a movie? The answer is no," said “The Hunt” produced Jason Blum in an interview last week. "But there’s no way to reverse it because you’ve spent the media and you’ve got to go forward.”
And moviegoers are still showing up, albeit in smaller numbers. Last weekend's domestic box office, while below expectations, was up slightly from the weekend before. This weekend is sure to be a different story, following the widespread closures across public life and the growing understanding of the pandemic's threat.
Still, several hundred thousand Americans went to the movies on Thursday. The Pixar release “Onward” led all films with $1.9 million Thursday in North American
Following this weekend, though,
Jeff Bock, senior media analyst for Exhibitor Relations, grants that the large chains have a difficult decision given the varying levels of coronavirus fears across the U.S. But he suspects
“It pretty much sends the message: Hollywood is closing down," said Bock, citing the erased release calendar. “The writing is on the wall. And it couldn't come at a worse time for the industry. It's already in a battle for eyeballs with the streaming services. For the foreseeable future, streaming will be king."
Most chains have sought to assure moviegoers that their
“I am of course conscious of the possibility that events could develop adversely very quickly and change this position in the short term,” said Greidinger, "but I remain confident that the crisis will ultimately pass and that the cinema exhibition industry will continue to play a major role in providing fun, laughter, happiness and joy to millions of dedicated movie fans, just as it has for over a century."
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The World Health Organization urges people to wash hands frequently and thoroughly, and to maintain social distancing.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP
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Jake Coyle, The Associated Press