Movies & Cinema during the Pandemic? Catch-all Discussion

BobO'Link

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I just checked to find the theater here is now open with single showings tomorrow night (6:30-7:30 starts). Most shows are "classic" titles at $7.60/seat (all seats and that includes the "convenience fee" for online purchases). They are *not* requiring, nor setting, "safe" distance seating. I could select seats directly next to others which have been sold. The room for BTTF had 8 seats sold when I looked. They are requiring face masks everywhere but in the theater itself (and I have to ask - why bother as that's no "safer" than outside the room) and are checking temps upon entry. Temp of 100.4 or refusal to wear a mask is grounds for being ejected from the theater. They are selling disposable masks for $.50/each.

I'm not at all surprised at the numbers of tickets they are selling (16 movies being shown with classic "kid" titles being the big sellers - the 1st Harry Potter has sold 10 seats). People around here are uniformly not wearing a face covering of any type and generally acting like the "all clear" has been given in spite of local daily increases in the number of active infections.

I just don't get it...
 
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Jake Lipson

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I just don't get it...
Me either. I would love to see some of these films in a theater again if they were re-released under normal circumstances. But what the movie is doesn't matter.

I would not wish the virus on anyone, even my worst enemy. (I don't have a worst enemy, but this is just a hypothetical.). So I hope that the people who are turning out to movies get lucky and won't realize two weeks from now that, oops, they have the virus. But that hope is likely unrealistic.

As an aside, Cinemark is suggesting that we buy tickets online to reduce contact at the theater, but won't remove the online ticketing fee, which essentially means "Pay us more to avoid contact with our employees." Movie Club members who accept a recurring monthly charge of $8.99+tax can get the fees waived, but that's it, and I can't imagine wanting a recurring charge from a movie theater at this time.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I think it’s a combination of a few things - one is that this social distancing/mask wearing thing is a completely new experience for so many people, and new is uncomfortable, new is scary, new is not what we like. Another is that there wasn’t a lot of clear official guidance, especially at the beginning, for how long this was going to go on for, and I think without clear messaging many people are ready to be done with it. (There’s a lot of “I don’t have it, I don’t know anyone who had it, no one I know knows anyone who had it, so either it wasn’t a big deal in the first place or it’s over already” going on out there.) And then there’s all the noise mixed in with the information. For years, an informational ecosystem has evolved to the point where it’s become easy and commonplace to get connected to the information you want, rather than everyone receiving the same information at the same time from the same source. Society’s reaction to the virus has transcending science and moved into belief. If you believe the virus is as serious as the experts say, you can find plenty of outlets that will back that up. If you believe the virus is not a big deal, it’s easy to find validation for that too.

Put all of that in a blender together.

I don’t get not seeing how this is real, but I got to see it closer than most of the country did. I can sorta get how someone in an area that hasn’t been hit hard yet, who doesn’t know anyone who got sick, who has been stuck at home for months, and is being told by their local officials that it’s safe now, would be inclined to believe that.
 

Wayne_j

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This recent surge definitely won't help get theaters back open any. I echo those who said that wearing a mask is something you can become comfortable with, it takes practice.
 

Jake Lipson

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I echo those who said that wearing a mask is something you can become comfortable with, it takes practice.
I am sure that is true, but I personally have no desire to do so. I'd rather stay home where I don't have to have one on than go out to a movie at a risk to myself and wear a mask. If an outing was essential, I would absolutely wear a mask. But if it's not, it's more comfortable to stay home and watch one of my Blu-rays instead.

I look forward to being able to return to the theater without a mask when there is a vaccine.
 
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Wayne_j

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My local drive-in is back from hosting high school graduations. Tomorrow they are showing Zootopia and The Greatest Showman. On Friday and Sunday they are showing The Force Awakens and Deadpool.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I am sure that is true, but I personally have no desire to do so. I'd rather stay home where I don't have to have one on than go out to a movie at a risk to myself and wear a mask. If an outing was essential, I would absolutely wear a mask. But if it's not, it's more comfortable to stay home and watch one of my Blu-rays instead.

I look forward to being able to return to the theater without a mask when there is a vaccine.
I'm fine enough w/ wearing a mask... though I haven't had to do it for a 2-hour movie or similar so far. I probably wouldn't bother going to a theater given the extra annoyance and risks either, but that's partly because I don't generally love going to movie theaters (for a long time) anyway, especially since I have a FP setup at home in recent years...

And we haven't even mentioned bed bugs so far, LOL!

_Man_
 

Jake Lipson

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Good for AMC for moving their date. But July 30 won't stick either. When Tenet and Mulan inevitably move again, so will this plan.

Broadway has now officially confirmed that they will be dark through the rest of 2020. I know live theatre and movies are not the same thing because there are no live performers in a movie and it's easier to social distance, but still. Both involve crowds of people in an enclosed space.

Ball's in your court, movie theaters. But it's also partially on the studios for making product available. I think part of the issue is that Tenet keeps incrementally moving its date. Disney clearly wants Mulan to be second, which is why they have consistently moved it to the week after Tenet. They are being reactionary to what Warner Bros. is doing, thinking that if Tenet can get people in the door for Tenet, then they might as well put Mulan out then, too.

If Warner Bros. comes out and says "We cannot put Tenet out right now and we are putting it on hold until sometime in 2021," the conversation about theaters being open at all would change instantly They have that power. Christopher Nolan has that power too. I don't know him personally, but it appears that his understandable desire to help the theaters out is blinding him to the reality of the current situation that we as a collective world have found ourselves in. I do not believe that Nolan wishes to do anyone any harm, but I believe that harm will come if Tenet releases in the immediate future. And then movie theaters will find themselves in an even more perilous position if people who get the virus can trace that back to going to a movie theater. So they need to change the conversation.

Most of Nolan's recent films since he became a famous name have opened in mid-July The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Dunkirk all landed in this frame, which is why Tenet was originally placed there too before the pandemic. As of right now, that weekend next year is lacking a huge tentpole release. Wide releases scheduled for July 16, 2021 currently include Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar from Lionsgate, Uncharted from Sony and Space Jam: A New Legacy from Warner Bros. Obviously, Warner can move Space Jam around at their own discretion, and the other two from other studios would blink immediately and find somewhere else to go if Tenet claimed that date. This is the time of year when audiences have become accustomed to seeing new Nolan films, and hopefully by then there will be a vaccine and things can go back to normal. The sooner that the studios admit that the remainder of 2020 is unsafe for releasing films, the sooner they. can begin the process of rebuilding the 2021 schedule to acomidate all of the delayed films.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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Just as the virus shows and exploits the weaknesses in each person’s health, the virus is also showing us where there are structural problems with the way our economy is run.

Maybe this is a radical opinion, but it seems crazy to me that theaters by law can’t open in many places in the country, and yet, they are legally obligated to pay for things like rent when they are prohibited from earning rent money. In my opinion, when the shutdown went into effect, we needed a mechanism by which any business that was forced to close would have their obligations put on pause until they were allowed to reopen. (There should also have been similar provisions for employees of affected businesses, if you’re not allowed to work, there needed to be some more relief to make not working feasible.)

It doesn’t seem right to me that the rent must be paid no matter what, while everyone else is making sacrifices and struggling with everything else.

Ultimately it comes back to public health. There wouldn’t be desperate rushes to pursue unsafe reopenings if everyone wasn’t hemorrhaging money through no fault of their own. And if we could keep more people at home with less uncertainty, we could do a better job of stopping the spread, which ultimately would get us back to work faster.
 

TravisR

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Just as the virus shows and exploits the weaknesses in each person’s health, the virus is also showing us where there are structural problems with the way our economy is run.

Maybe this is a radical opinion, but it seems crazy to me that theaters by law can’t open in many places in the country, and yet, they are legally obligated to pay for things like rent when they are prohibited from earning rent money. In my opinion, when the shutdown went into effect, we needed a mechanism by which any business that was forced to close would have their obligations put on pause until they were allowed to reopen. (There should also have been similar provisions for employees of affected businesses, if you’re not allowed to work, there needed to be some more relief to make not working feasible.)

It doesn’t seem right to me that the rent must be paid no matter what, while everyone else is making sacrifices and struggling with everything else.

Ultimately it comes back to public health. There wouldn’t be desperate rushes to pursue unsafe reopenings if everyone wasn’t hemorrhaging money through no fault of their own. And if we could keep more people at home with less uncertainty, we could do a better job of stopping the spread, which ultimately would get us back to work faster.
And all of that is why I can't really get mad at theaters for trying to reopen. Their business and thus the livelihoods of their employees are on the line.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Makes sense. Although I'd say there isn't much reason to open until August 12 but July 30 will give them some time to have smaller amounts of people and get used to the new procedures, etc. before Tenet gets alot more people in there.
Yeah, I work under the assumption they moved the opening less because of health concerns and more because the programming won't be there in mid-July...
 
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Colin Jacobson

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Broadway opening postponed till January 2021.

No way theaters are opening before the fall. Covid Spikes will put a brake on that.
Broadway and movies are apples/oranges.

Movies can exist with 25% full average houses. Live theater can't...
 

Colin Jacobson

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Not if that presents a safety risk for the audience and employees, which is what it would be right now.
Wasn't discussing potential health hazards. Just looking at how the 2 businesses can run in normal times.

Movie theaters don't need 100% occupancy - or close to it - to make money. Broadway at 25% would fail miserably...
 

Jake Lipson

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Movie theaters don't need 100% occupancy - or close to it - to make money.
You're right. They don't. But the health hazards have to be part of the discussion because we aren't in normal times. Movie theaters are hurting, but the Broadway industry is facing the same challenge right now, and they are admitting that 2020 is over.

It completely sucks and I wish we weren't in this situation. But the sooner the studios and movie theaters admit that 2020 is over in relation to new releases, the sooner they can start to rebuild the 2021 and 2022 schedules in order to accommodate the inclusion of all of these delayed films.

If they don't want to be that drastic -- although I think they should -- the absolute minimum that Warner and Disney should do right now is move Tenet and Mulan to "TBD" status. It makes absolutely no sense to keep incrementally pushing them every. couple of weeks. That's not helpful for theater owners who are planning reopening, it's not helpful for the marketing campaign which won't be able to effectively promote the movies until there is a settled date, and it's not helpful for fans who want to see them to constantly have them yanked away. So at this point, I think just delaying them one more time to "TBD" and admitting that they will relate them later when they have more information about when it will be practical to have theaters open is the responsible and effective thing to do. They gain nothing by having to constantly shift them by a week or two and then having to shift them again and again. If they want to announce a new release date later that is still within 2020, that would be their prerogative, but I think "TBD" is the right move for now.
 
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