San Francisco movie theaters are opening up, but they won't look like they did before...
As theaters in San Francisco reopen, they may hold the blueprint for theaters to open all over. But the way to stay safe may not be monetarily sound for long. Right now, theaters are open at 50% capacity, which means you can leave a seat between you and someone else open. There are no concessions because they're still restricted by the city's regulations.
Yes, you can't even buy a soda or popcorn.
While this all might sound restrictive, these are all rules that will peel back one by one as herd immunity and vaccinations spread. And it has theater doors open. The people who were surveyed going to the theater just seemed happy to be back.
Here are recent box office returns:
- Raya and the Last Dragon $8.6M
- Tom and Jerry $6.6M
- Chaos Walking $3.8M
- Boogie $1.2M
- The Croods: A New Age $780.0K
This past weekend, theaters did better than they have in a while, with two movies making over five million dollars. That sounds paltry, but we need this steady incline to get theaters making some money so they don't disappear.
While huge chains like Regal and AMC have already had layoffs and closed locations, the biggest worry I have is for the independent theaters. Places need to make some money to just continue to break even or get cash coming in.
San Francisco is a small portion of the United States, but I think the ideas here are applicable all over. Just get people into the seats, and then remove restrictions one by one, with capacity being last.
Many experts are saying we could have most people vaccinated by the end of May, in prime time for summer movie season. I'm not sure missing another summer could be a survivable event for a lot of theaters, and it could cripple studios.
The ripple effect of not being open could mean another summer of job losses, fewer spec sales, and rewatching old movies. We can't do it again, so we need vaccines and a plan to keep theaters alive. I think business will boom when people are ready to go back, so for now, opening with a lot of restrictions is better than nothing.
What will it take to get you back in the theater? Let us know in the comments.