Movie Theatres: COVID-19’s Next Victim?

OpEd takes a look at how coronavirus is impacting movie-going experience.

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Image from spectrumlocalnews.com

ELIOTT MEYERS, Anchor and Reporter

There is no reason to say how much life is going to change during the pandemic. The economy is down the drain, and people are being laid off left and right. However, the economic downturn is temporary. What’s permanent is the effect it will have on our culture. One aspect of our lives that has a lot to lose is the movie theatre experience. 

Going to the movies has been part of American culture since the first Westerns were being played on the silver screen. There really is nothing like the classic movie experience, at least for some people. Some people go to theatres because that’s the only place to see the movies for the first 90 days they’re out. And with everyone stuck at home, Mickey Mouse has been scheming. 

If Mickey could put all his shows and movies on Disney Plus, then he would make 100% of the profits off them. At the movies, he only gets 55%. If he succeeds, then he’ll take another step on the road to becoming the Rockefeller of entertainment.

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These predictions ignore the fact that many consider movie theatres to be a superior experience. The theatres know this. …When people are scared, however, it doesn’t matter if the experience is better.”

— Eliott Meyers, Knightly News Reporter

The first test was not conducted by the mouse in a really big clubhouse, but by Dreamworks. Trolls World Tour came out to be rented for $20 on YouTube. Due to absolute boredom, people dished out the dough despite the price. 

Now AT&T is set to grab a share of that overtired parent money that Dreamworks has been rolling in. SCOOB! is coming out on May 15. And Mr. Mouse is growing restless. He already started with Artemis Fowl. Who knows what will come next? With that kind of money, Disney could buy Warner Bros. Just imagine all the crappy crossovers. 

But this isn’t about Disney and Mr. Mouse and his really big clubhouse. It’s about the theatres. Ever since Netflix came onto the scene, it’s been forecasted that you will say goodbye to AMC and Marcus and say hello to one more reason to never leave your house. Like we need any more of those. 

However, these predictions ignore the fact that many consider movie theatres to be a superior experience. The theatres know this. And they plan to use this in their favor. AMC will no longer be showing any Universal movies in North America, Europe, or the Middle East. So when Despicable Me 9 comes out in a few years, you’ll have to go to China to see it on the big screen. What a shame! And this will extend to any studio that decides to do an early digital release. No word has yet been said about Disney or WarnerMedia. At this point, it could go one of two ways. Either Mr. Mouse smells blood in the water and moves everything else to Disney Plus, or he figures the theatres are too valuable to his success. 

When people are scared, however, it doesn’t matter if the experience is better. While it’s unlikely that eating too much popcorn in a big room full of strangers will go away anytime soon, it’s entirely possible that movie theatres could eventually go the way of the Western – shrouded in myth, memory, and nostalgia.