Well, the fact that there is something in the theater is great news in New York City, where theaters have been dark, along with most other out-of-apartment entertainment options, ever since COVID-19. he tightened his grip one last time. March.
But with the multiplexes (and the few remaining individual screens) finally allowed to reopen this weekend, there’s another question that might as well appear on the big marquee: Are viewers ready to start over? All of this must be covered, of course. Not all theaters have returned. A pair of independent defenseless did not survive the virus. Some networks are still playing wait and see. And theaters won’t be full this weekend. As the doors open, you’re guaranteed to have enough room to rest the buttery, tub-sized popcorn on the seat next to you. Capacity is strictly limited to 25%, and never more than 50 people per screen. It‘s been a long year for Paul Dergarabedian, but he said he finally sees good reason for hope, and New York is a big part of it. As a senior media analyst for media measurement and analysis company Comscore SCOR, -9.29%, Dergarabedian follows the film industry like a hawk, perusing marketing budgets, screen performances, and box office reports, and looking for trends in all of them. . “I am optimistic,” he said. “We could be in a much worse position if New York didn’t reopen. The largest film markets have to reopen before the industry can get back on track. “There are two key pieces to a post-COVID recovery, according to the analyst.” The film industry needs the availability of cinemas, and the best studios need to be emboldened and confident enough to put new, big, expensive movies in them. But with the second-largest movie market, second only to Los Angeles, opening now, that’s a big deal. We may not see a return to the market. glory overnight. But it’s a very important step. ” See also: The death toll from COVID-19 in the US surpasses 520,000 as Dr. Fauci warns against reopening too soon After a year of falling in love again with video streaming, studies seem to be returning to the cinemas. There’s a great Disney DIS movie, + 1.04%, “Stripe and the Last Dragon,” opening in theaters this weekend. “I’ll be looking closely at those numbers,” Dergarabedian said. And the animated reboot of “Tom and Jerry,” the favorite cat and mouse, hit theaters in Chicago, Phoenix, Houston, and elsewhere a week ago and performed much better than anyone had predicted, although it was also available. in streaming. “Now, we will have the horsepower of New York City,” Dergarabedian said. Clearly, the studies are not ready yet. “Coming 2 America,” Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall’s sequel to their 1988 blockbuster Immigrants, was originally supposed to be released in theaters by Paramount Pictures. But due to the locks, Paramount sold the distribution rights to Amazon AMZN, + 0.77% Studios, whose marketing executives orchestrated a massive digital launch on Thursday. The film is receiving moderate reviews. So who knows what kind of business it might have done on a movie theater-only release. But it’s a beloved comedy franchise that fans haven’t owned for 34 years, and (New York alert) it’s partly set in Queens. File it under “missed opportunity.” Don’t Miss: Cuomo Responds To Harassment Scandal: ‘I’m Not Giving Up’ But he’s apparently turning some kind of corner. The percentage of US theaters that are open jumped from 38 two weeks ago to 42 a week ago, according to Comscore’s tally. With New York included, it could be 45, approaching 50, after this weekend. The 63 theaters in the five boroughs represent just 3% of the screens in the United States. But New York’s largest metropolitan market takes it at 7.4%, and New York plays an even bigger role: As a media hub, cultural magnet, and financial hub, it is irreplaceable as a movie buzzer. “The ability to sit on the couch and press a button is really cool,” Dergarabedian said, “but it’s not the only experience we want to have in terms of entertainment. Everything is freedom of choice. Even when movies are available at home and simultaneously in theaters, people continue to go to theaters in greater numbers than we think ”. Read more: Why will cinema survive the coronavirus pandemic? Theaters, he said, will not be killed by home streaming any more than restaurants will perish due to Seamless, Chow Now, Uber UBER, + 4.65% Eats and the other food delivery apps. Eating at home is not the same as dining out as Netflix NFLX, + 1.00% is the same as Saturday night at the movies. “That cinema is a carefully selected special experience,” Dergarabedian said. “There is nothing like it. Part of what makes a movie theater so cool, that it’s communal, that it’s immersive, it doesn’t work in a pandemic. “But as the pandemic passes,” the cinema will return to glory and learn to live with the broadcast options. It’s a different world now. But movie theaters will continue to be a part of it. ”Ellis Henican is an author who lives in New York City and was a former newspaper columnist.