Will Movie Theaters Survive the Pandemic?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, movie theaters’ profits have been absolutely decimated. In just the last quarter, Cinemark has reported a net loss of over $170 million. This begs the question, can movie theaters come back from this pit of absolute obliteration?

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi says yes. He believes that “2021 is more of a transition year, with really strong products coming from both ‘20 and ‘21, and ‘22 is going to be the year where it more normalizes.” No Time to Die, Black Widow, and Dune are just three of the many highly anticipated movies whose release dates have been pushed back because of the pandemic. However, this may not be too big of an issue if there are no theaters to screen them in.

Cinemark, AMC, Regal and all the other entertainment companies must face the obstacles that lie in front of them: When will they reopen? Will people go back to watching movies in enclosed rooms with a bunch of strangers? Will the allure go away if movie-goers are not able to enjoy the nostalgic buttery popcorn? Pine Crest sophomore Will Burke says, “With covid, seeing new movies at home is nice, but it’s just not the same.”

Watching movies at home may not be the same, but it definitely is giving a boost in sales to Netflix, whose revenue last quarter was up $2 billion from the corresponding one is 2019. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other tv subscription companies may be the future of entertainment.

Another alternative to the classic movie theaters are drive-in movies. Places such as the Thunderbird Drive-In theater at the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop doubles as the largest drive-in movie theater and swap shop in the world with 14 different movie screens. If sitting in a car to watch a movie is not your thing, but you still want the experience of going out to watch a movie, the Hard Rock Stadium now doubles as an outdoor theater. “I love that I can still enjoy the experience of going out and seeing a movie,” says Annick Coleman ’23. The movie-going experience might be changing, and the future of the classic movie theater is still unclear, but rest assured, movies are here to stay.