Movie theaters in New York City and Los Angeles have been closed since last March due to the pandemic, which partially explains why Dolittle, a notorious box office bomb, was the fourth highest-grossing movie of 2020. L.A. theaters will remain off limits to theatergoers, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that New Yorkers will be able to drink overpriced sodas in a dark room with strangers real soon.
New York City movie theaters will reopen on March 5 with firm restrictions in place: 25 percent capacity, no more than 50 people per screen, and “masks, assigned seating, and advanced air filtration will be required,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. “Many theaters open elsewhere in the U.S. have the same rules, although capacity is 50 percent in some areas. Presently, roughly 38 percent of the theaters in North America are in operation presently. With New York coming online, studios will certainly be more inclined to begin to release their backlog of titles.” Over eight million people live in New York City — Disney isn’t going to release Black Widow if that many people can’t see it, let alone another four million in Los Angeles. This is — maybe, possibly, hopefully — a step towards Things Getting Back to Normal (if mask rules are enforced and followed, which is a big “if”).
It’s not clear when Los Angeles — where cases are higher — will allow cinemas to turn the lights on, but New York’s reopening is a milestone event. The larger Los Angeles market provided nearly 9 percent of all box office revenue in 2019, while the New York designated market area turned in 7.4 percent.
The first major movies to open post-March 5 are Raya and the Last Dragon (March 5; also available on Disney+) and Godzilla vs. Kong (March 31). New Yorkers can’t wait to talk over that rollercoaster popcorn again.
i would simply kill a person to watch the stupid little roller coaster bit before a movie at a theater right now. sometimes the big popcorn popping would scare me. i’d be like “whoa!”
— matt (@Lubchansky) February 20, 2021
(Via the Hollywood Reporter)