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Experts are predicting that movie theaters could be opening before the summer movie season hits. But is this idea safe even with vaccines?

Are movie theaters opening before the summer? Why owners are hopeful

We’re officially coming up on the one-year anniversary since movie theaters were forced to shut their doors and stop their projection reels from spinning. Many of us couldn’t have foreseen that the last movie we saw in a theater would be the last time we’d visit the cinemas for a full year. However, with multiple vaccines being implemented and positive COVID-19 cases going down, could movie theaters finally be opening soon? 

The last time movie theaters were actually open, we were left with some pretty lackluster options, robbed of our big summer movie season that was set to release some huge tentpole films. This included Top Gun: Maverick, Black Widow, A Quiet Place 2, Dune, and other name worthy projects. We had to suffer through films like Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot for absolutely nothing. 

However, many cinema owners are hopeful that the movie theaters will be opening very soon, which I think we can all agree we’ve dearly missed since the start of the current global pandemic. But are movie theaters actually going to be opening soon? Let’s take a closer look at the situation. 

Why movie theaters matter? 

Simply put, movie theaters are a symbolic chapel of entertainment & visual storytelling, which has a rich history that spans from our grandparents’ days at the local drive-in to our own memories of attending the movies. Movie theaters are where we could leave all of our life’s troubles at the door and enter a new world that shines a light on our imagination. 

Because of the movie theaters shutting down, we’ve mostly been left to stream some of our most anticipated movies which, we’re sorry, is just not the same. Movies are meant to be a shared experience, on a big screen with lots of people watching. That’s what made films like Rocky special. That’s what made moments like the portals scene in Avengers: Endgame special. That’s what we need right now. 

 

Movie theaters in the COVID-19 era

When movie theaters began closing down during March of 2020, many of us saw our favorite weekend tradition quietly slip away, as seeing an anticipated film in front of the big screen with a bucket of popcorn was no longer an option. 

Today, we are teased of the movie theater experience as we walk past the box office at our local malls and drive by our favorite movie theater’s marquee. However, in a global pandemic, we understand the importance of keeping a safe distance, as movie theaters offer a unique experience that, regrettably, involves many people in a closed space. 

Even with mandatory masks, constant sterilization, and spaced-out seating, it’s clear that until the vaccine has reached enough people, as well as current COVID-19 cases drop, that movie theaters opening might very well be the last on the priority list when it comes to returning to “normal”. That being said, cases are dropping, and the vaccination process is ramping up quite quickly. Could we see options that might help encourage the process further of opening movie theaters? What about rapid tests? 

The UK has already considered such options.     

Tracking the UK

Phil Clapp, the chief executive of the UK Cinema Association has clapped back no pun intended on the notion of implementing rapid COVID-19 tests before attending an entertainment venue, as suggested by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

Boris Johnson had made the suggestion to utilize rapid tests as well as leaning on the current vaccination process to help open movie theaters & concert venues during a coronavirus briefing last Monday. 

The following day, during an interview with BBC World at One, Clapp, who reps 90% of U.K. cinemas, spoke on how movie theaters should not be compared to the types of social environments that nightclubs & concert venues are. 

Clapp also noted how the thirty-minutes it takes to wait for testing results, as well as the cost of the test, shouldn’t be put on the shoulders of the average moviegoer. Clapp added the following: 

“So, if you’re talking about an audience of maybe 250 people, I think we believe that asking them to wait 30 minutes before seeing a two-hour film is impractical, and also asking them to pay what equates in most cases to a 50% uplift on their ticket price, isn’t really the way forward.”  

How desperate are you to return to the cinema once movie theaters start opening back up? Which 2021 film are you most excited to see on the big screen? How about your favorite movie theater snack? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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