The Fate of Movie Theaters in a Covid World


Erin Lynch, Staff Writer

We are approaching the one year anniversary of when the United States went into lockdown. Everything from bars and restaurants, hair salons, and small businesses were ordered to shut their doors until further notice because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Flash-forward almost a year later and it seems that this is still the case. But I would like to focus on something I miss dearly – movie theaters.

Movie theaters have been around since the year 1905! They have been a favorite pastime of people all around the world for the longest time, but were put to a screeching halt in 2020. Cinemas all across the United States were told to shut down and many highly anticipated movies including Black Widow, No Time To Die, and Mission: Impossible 7 have been delayed to release in 2021. With more and more blockbusters being delayed, movie theaters are being greatly impacted.

Then there is, of course, our beloved streaming services. Although they are great for movie lovers, they are not helping theaters. Netflix, Disney +, Apple TV are just some of the most well known streaming services. With a wide variety of shows and movies, and many Americans stuck at home, binge watching our favorites has been what many Americans have been doing! So, if you already have a streaming subscription, wouldn’t it be convenient to watch your all time favorites along with the new releases? Well, this is why many movies are released on popular streaming platforms. 

Many movies have been switched from a theater release to a hybrid release. This is when the movie is in both cinemas and on streaming services. A perfect example would be Wonder Woman 1984. This is the highly anticipated sequel to the extremely successful movie Wonder WomanWonder Woman 1984 came out in theaters and the streaming service, HBOmax, on Christmas Day. The movie collected $16.7 million in the box office, which was 84% lower than Wonder Woman. If more and more highly anticipated movies switch to a hybrid release, could this be the case for more movies to come? With many theaters closed and streaming services booming, is there room for both of them in the long run?

There is no doubt that the world post Covid-19 is going to be very different than what we are used to. It will be our new normal and all we can do is roll with the punches. This is what movie theaters will have to do. They must adapt to our constantly changing world. If movie theaters don’t have a place in the future, will it be such a bad thing? Is a little change what we need?