Movies & Cinema during the Pandemic? Catch-all Discussion

Jake Lipson

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For me, the bigger issue is whether people are going to want to go back. In order to even brush against capacity limits, there have to be enough people who want to return to the movies. I certainly don't at this moment. In a normal year, I go to more movies than anyone else I know. I actually managed to get in 11 movies from January to the beginning of March before the pandemic hit. If I don't want to go back, I doubt that my friends who see only a few movies a year are going to do it either.

Whenever there is finally a vaccine that works and I have it, I expect the movie theater to be the first place I go. Until then, I'm out.

Disney's plan to go VOD with Mulan but stick with theatrical for The New Mutants demonstrates their contractual obligation on the latter loud and clear. If it were safe to put out any movie right now, it wouldn't matter what the movie is. But they will be able to fulfill the contract and get it over with so they no longer have to hang onto something that even Fox had written off before the sale. If people are willing to return to theaters, which I doubt, New Mutants will get increased attention, and if not, then at least it's something they expected to tank anyway.

In regards to Tenet, my only question is when a September 3 launch date puts the Blu-ray. I will happily do a blind purchase of that whenever it comes out, but there's just no way I'll see it in theaters now. If Warner didn't have Nolan breathing down their neck, there's no way they would open that now. They seem to be more concerned with placating Nolan than with recouping their investment, because I don't see how both things are possible in this situation. I guess maybe the Blu-ray will be out in time for Christmas shopping. If so, I'll see it in December. I really wish this wasn't the case, but it is.

As for Wonder Woman, I hope she gets pushed to next summer. Actually, I hope Tenet gets pushed to next summer too, but since that ship has apparently sailed, Wonder Woman is the next one they could push. A movie like that would be in line for huge returns if it is released after a vaccine is available, since it would bring a lot of people back to theaters who won't be comfortable before then. I know I'd be really excited to see it in a theater if it gets held until that time.
 
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Jeff Adkins

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For me, the bigger issue is whether people are going to want to go back. In order to even brush against capacity limits, there have to be enough people who want to return to the movies. I certainly don't at this moment. In a normal year, I go to more movies than anyone else I know. I actually managed to get in 11 movies from January to the beginning of March before the pandemic hit. If I don't want to go back, I doubt that my friends who see only a few movies a year are going to do it either.
It certainly is a big question, although I didn't think people would be ready to go back to restaurants. The restaurants here in Indy are much busier than I would have thought.

I've been keeping an eye on the showtimes for next Thursday (opening day) at my local theater. 11 of the 15 showings that day are already sold out in less than 12 hours. Granted, the price is only 15 cents, but it still shows that people are willing to go to a theater. You can see here:


Personally, I wouldn't be anywhere near the place on that day. Even at a reduced capacity, that's too crowded for me.

In regards to Tenet, my only question is when a September 3 launch date puts the Blu-ray. I will happily do a blind purchase of that whenever it comes out, but there's just no way I'll see it in theaters now. If Warner didn't have Nolan breathing down their neck, there's no way they would open that now. They seem to be more concerned with placating Nolan than with recouping their investment, because I don't see how both things are possible in this situation. I guess maybe the Blu-ray will be out in time for Christmas shopping. If so, I'll see it in December. I really wish this wasn't the case, but it is.
Yeah, I would think late November/early December.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Maybe I'm just a dope and I'm reading this wrong... but it sure looks to me like about 50% of the seating is available in this auditorium.

And that the "distancing" still could allow entire rows to fill, so you could have strangers elbow to elbow with you:

 
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Ejanss

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As for Wonder Woman, I hope she gets pushed to next summer. Actually, I hope Tenet gets pushed to next summer too, but since that ship has apparently sailed, Wonder Woman is the next one they could push. A movie like that would be in line for huge returns if it is released after a vaccine is available, since it would bring a lot of people back to theaters who won't be comfortable before then. I know I'd be really excited to see it in a theater if it gets held until that time.
I'd like to see BOTH movies pushed to next summer. At least. To put it politely...

(We're all so desperate to see movies in real theaters again, that those who know that Wonder Woman 1984 is rumored to be an unholy mess are becoming unheeded Cassandras.) :(
 

Johnny Angell

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Maybe I'm just a dope and I'm reading this wrong... but it sure looks to me like about 50% of the seating is available in this auditorium.

And that the "distancing" still could allow entire rows to fill, so you could have strangers elbow to elbow with you:

I don’t see social distancing in that diagram at all. As you said, elbow to elbow. And there’ll be people taking off their masks when the lights go down. This looks as bad as a bar.
 
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Jake Lipson

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I'd like to see BOTH movies pushed to next summer.
Well, yeah. Both should move. But Christopher Nolan is obviously breathing down Warner's neck trying to get them to put Tenet out as quickly as possible. So I think the ship has sailed in terms of delaying it any further, unfortunately. Wonder Woman is the next one they have on the schedule that doesn't have a director who is demanding its immediate release.
 
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Colin Jacobson

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I don’t see social distancing in that diagram at all. As you said, elbow to elbow. And there’ll be people taking off their masks when the lights go down. This looks as bad as a bar.
The "X"s in the chart connote seats not available, so wherever you sit, there'll be no one in the row right in front of you.

But you could still be right next to strangers.


I thought it was possible that the software wouldn't allow that, but it does.

I just tried to buy 1 seat that was the only "buffer" between 2 already-sold groups of seats, and the app let me do that.

So I'd be smackdab between 2 sets of strangers - so much for distancing! :huh:
 
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Jake Lipson

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On another note, I wanted to bring this article to everyone's attention. I don't normally go to Deadline to get coronavirus news, but they are covering it now beyond the scope of how it relates to Hollywood. This article talks about how the fall could be particularly terrible with the flu on top of the coronavirus and how we need to have 95% to 99% compliance with masks and social distancing if we are going to get through this.


I bring this up from this particular source and not a more general news outlet because Deadline is also covering the entertainment news about AMC reopening next week. Of course they are; that's their primary job as a Hollywood trade website. See this from earlier today regarding the 15 cents per ticket stunt.


The thing that I don't get is that one article does not follow from the other. There absolutely, positively, categorically should not be discussions about opening movie theaters anywhere while health officials are making such dire pronouncements like that about how things are going to get worse.

I love the movie theater as much as anyone else here, and I can't wait until I can go back after an effective vaccine is found. But now is just not the time.

people are willing to go to a theater.
This is a big problem. 15 cents is too high for me if it includes a side of corona, and that is what will happen if people pack theaters next Thursday. Two weeks later, when Tenet opens, I suspect a whole lot of people are going to start realizing they've been sick without knowing it. The risk of theaters opening up now before we have effectively flattened the curve is that if they are the cause of an outbreak, the public trust in movie theaters will go down drastically. Then, they will have screwed the pooch so badly that recovery will be even more challenging than it already is.

Out of the list of titles screening, I would love to see Back to the Future on the big screen again. If that were to get re-released in a normal situation, you couldn't keep me away from the theater. I've recently been revisiting the Blu-rays in anticipation of the new set coming out in October, and it would be a genuine pleasure to watch with an audience on a screen larger than my television. They've certainly picked good titles. But the quality of the films is irrelevant. I see this as a matter of life and death, and I'm not yet ready to die.
 
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TravisR

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The "X"s in the chart connote seats not available, so wherever you sit, there'll be no one in the row right in front of you.

But you could still be right next to strangers.


I thought it was possible that the software wouldn't allow that, but it does.

I just tried to buy 1 seat that was the only "buffer" between 2 already-sold groups of seats, and the app let me do that.

So I'd be smackdab between 2 sets of strangers - so much for distancing! :huh:
I'd recommend contacting their customer service because that's definitely an error and needs to be corrected.
 
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TravisR

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On another note, I wanted to bring this article to everyone's attention. I don't normally go to Deadline to get coronavirus news, but they are covering it now beyond the scope of how it relates to Hollywood. This article talks about how the fall could be particularly terrible with the flu on top of the coronavirus and how we need to have 95% to 99% compliance with masks and social distancing if we are going to get through this.
Just to highlight the even more depressing and frightening part of that article is that it points out that a recent Gallup poll has 14% of people saying that they "never" wear a mask in public. Needless to say, those folks ain't changing so we could be in some real trouble.

A few weeks ago, the question of "Will you go back to theaters when they reopen?" was raised and I believe I said at that time, that I would but it ultimately would depend on the situation at the time. Now that the time is nearly here, I'm not going to theaters. I think the only thing that I'll really miss is Tenet because I imagine many more movies are going to get bumped if things go sideways as science is predicting.
 

Jake Lipson

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I think the only thing that I'll really miss is Tenet because I imagine many more movies are going to get bumped if things go sideways as science is predicting.
I hope you are correct in the first part of your prediction about more movies getting bumped. I don't want to miss any movies I'm excited about, but I want to live to see all the movies that will come out when the pandemic is eventually over. So that's my choice.

I hope that things don't go sideways, but I am not currently optimistic. I've seen Facebook posts from friends of mine who have been getting together in large groups without masks or social distancing, and they're posting pictures as if it is a point of pride. I look at these and I think, "I thought I was friends with smart people." And that's just a totally random nonscientific sample of people I happen to have known once upon a time.
 
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Jake Lipson

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The only way to ensure people are socially distanced is to be at 25% capacity or less.
Even if that were to be the case, I'm not sure the theater employees will actually be able to enforce anything. We're talking about the same theaters that for years haven't been able to control cell phone usage or screaming toddlers. How can theater employees be expected to guarantee social distancing is in effect? In a darkened room, people could go into seats next to other people and there would be no real way to control that.

There's also no way to enforce the masks mandate either once people are in the auditorium and the lights are down. Theater employees are not going to want to get near anyone who doesn't wear a mask, and they can't be turned into, effectively, hall monitors. It's a nice symbolic gesture to require masks, but that's all it can be.

They want you to be able to eat and drink concessions because they want to sell you concessions. If you take off your mask to eat and drink, then that's essentially the same as not having it at all in terms of its effectiveness. Even if people did wear masks for the duration of the film while not eating or drinking, that's not a guarantee that people wouldn't get it while they are eating or drinking.

This is going to be a disaster.
 
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Wayne_j

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My guess is that they are letting people buy tickets next to their family members. They might have safeguards against 2 parties buying tickets next to each other.
 

Colin Jacobson

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My guess is that they are letting people buy tickets next to their family members. They might have safeguards against 2 parties buying tickets next to each other.
Nope. As I noted in an earlier post, I was able to reserve a seat right between 2 others.

The AMC app is on the "honor system" - it asks you not to buy seats next to others but it allows it...
 

Malcolm R

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Just saw a TV ad for The New Mutants. "In Theaters August 28"

So the marketing push has begun.
 

TravisR

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Maybe I'm just a dope and I'm reading this wrong... but it sure looks to me like about 50% of the seating is available in this auditorium.

And that the "distancing" still could allow entire rows to fill, so you could have strangers elbow to elbow with you:

I just took a look at an AMC near me and they don't have any rows of seats blocked because they are recliner seat auditoriums and according to the site, the rows are spaced far enough apart (in front and behind) to allow for proper social distancing. I tried buying seats right next to seats that were already taken and it wouldn't allow me to buy them. I assume that the same will go for traditional seat auditoriums.

In short, the seating chart that you're seeing is apparently correct by their standards.
 

Colin Jacobson

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I just took a look at an AMC near me and they don't have any rows of seats blocked because they are recliner seat auditoriums and according to the site, the rows are spaced far enough apart (in front and behind) to allow for proper social distancing. I tried buying seats right next to seats that were already taken and it wouldn't allow me to buy them. I assume that the same will go for traditional seat auditoriums.
You assume incorrectly, As I posted earlier, I tried to reserve a seat between 2 that were taken and the app allowed me to do so.

I tried to buy a seat next to a strange for a recliner show as well - and it allowed me to do so.

I don't what locations you've checked, but the ones in Alexandria and Tysons VA are on the "honor system" - the app does nothing to stop you from buying seats next to those reserved by strangers, whether in traditional or recliner settings...
 

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