While restaurants, bars, gyms and recreation centers have been allowed to operate normally during the pandemic, several theaters across New York City have been banned from accommodating customers.
But, as of today, state theaters are starting to reopen after a year of closure with no expected return.
Announced last week by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the decision surprised moviegoers and representatives of the film industry.
For now, capacity will be limited to just 25% of the space or up to 50 people per session, depending on the size of each room.
And despite expectations on both sides, the reopening is also causing panic.
While some fans still fear infection with COVID-19, theater administrators fear they will not be able to meet the high demand from those hungry for a screening.
Matthew Viragh, founder of Nitehawk Cinema, has said he needs to revamp his entire routine after hearing the news because he believes the reopening won’t happen until the second half of 2021.
“We [administradores de cinemas] we are very excited to go back to work, but we are also in a panic. I had planned to resume activities after the middle of the year. But we were thankful for the reopening and had less than 10 days to get our hands dirty. It is very shocking.
Even though the novelty ignites a spark of hope for the industry, the tight deadline has proven too ambitious for several theater owners across the state, which is the largest mall in the United States.
The big industry chains, like AMC Theaters and Regal Cinema, had no problem resuming their activities until the big day of the reopening …
However, independent sites like The Metrograph and smaller chains like Alamo Drafthouse are still trying to organize themselves to compete with industry giants.
Scott Rosemann, Division Director at Reading International (parent company of the Angelika Film Center), said:
“25% of the capacity is very little, but it’s better than nothing. I am happy to start over because it is an investment for the future. We probably won’t be making a profit for a long time, but we think it’s important to get our customers back when we get back to ‘normal’. “
The best way to stay ahead of the competition is to use creativity, as John Vanco, director of the IFC Center, located in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, said.
“The IFC Center is launching a series called ‘What Did We Miss’, highlighting films that have not had the opportunity to screen in New York theaters over the past year,” said Vanco.
Highlights include the novel ‘Ammonite’, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, the dark comedy ‘Kajillionaire’, starring Evan Rachel Wood and Gina Rodriguez, and the touching drama ‘Never, rarely, sometimes, always Critically acclaimed with 99% probation on Rotten Tomatoes.
As desperate as the situation may seem, it is still too early to draw any conclusions on how industry representatives will handle the reopening.
Despite this, we hope that little by little everything will return to normal depending on the downside of the pandemic.
Along with Los Angeles, it should be noted that New York is one of the largest film markets in the world and is a great sign for studios and distributors.
So much so that many studios have only postponed their big screen debuts because both regions were locked in for most of last year.
The two areas represent the two largest box office markets in the United States and without them the films do not have much of a chance of financial success, proof of this is the modest number of “Tenets” and ” Wonder Woman ”.
The first raised $ 363.7 million over four months, on a budget of $ 200 million.
The sequel with Gal Gadot was budgeted at the same amount and only grossed $ 159.4 million, making it the latest failure among DC Comics adaptations.
Unfortunately, there are still no forecasts for the reopening of theaters in Los Angeles, but cases of the disease are dropping considerably … The activities could therefore sooner or later return to the “new normal”.
Still, the National Association of American Film Owners hailed the New York government’s decision.
“Film owners are pleased with the announcement that New York theaters will be allowed to safely reopen. Strict voluntary health and safety protocols have allowed theaters across the country to operate responsibly at higher capacity limits for several months without a single outbreak … “
Now, with the reopening, that could be the light at the end of the tunnel for the film industry to begin to recover after more than a year of financial collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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