Movie theaters across the United States are shut down as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country. Once we’re done battling this virus, some movie theaters may not be there to meet us on the other side. With an unclear window for when movie theaters will reopen, some of them simply can’t afford to be without a revenue stream for a few months. But the good news is, for those theaters who are able to survive, they’ll be met with open arms by moviegoers again.
A new poll conducted by analytics company EDO asked 6,800 participants whether or not they were likely to return to movie theaters whenever they’re back open for business. The good news is that 70% of those polled said they were likely to head back to movie theaters, and out of that group, 45% of them said they were “highly likely” to get back in front of the big screen. But for others, it won’t be such a quick turnaround.
Deadline called our attention to the latest poll conducted by EDO, which comes from a report titled “Social Distancing Moviegoing and TV Habits.” Among the 45% who were highly likely to come back to movie theaters, 20% said they would hit up movie theaters again as soon as they were open. Meanwhile, the other 25% said they would wait a few days.
It’s not all good news though. Some of the more cautious polled, 45% of the group, said they would wait a few weeks before getting a ticket to the local multiplex. Another 11% said they would wait several months. Considering the fact that China reopened their movie theaters too soon after seemingly quelling the spread of coronavirus, only to close them again after a week of operation, holding off on a return to movie theaters might not be such a bad idea.
Honestly, even if movie theaters are able to reopen in June or July, they might not have much to entice moviegoers back into theaters. Major blockbusters like Wonder Woman 1984, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Minions: The Rise of Gru have already evacuated their previous summer release dates, so it might be slim pickings if theaters open sooner than later.
For now, moviegoers are taking full advantage of streaming services and VOD content while self-quarantining at home. Among those polled, Disney+ and Hulu were the most popular streaming services being signed up for following the outbreak. Meanwhile, consumption of Netflix and HBO Now went up 80%. As for movies on VOD, nearly half confirmed they had bought movies from Amazon, YouTube and iTunes.
With at least another month of self-containment in the United States being pushed by the CDC (maybe longer if coronavirus cases keep increasing at their current rate), the use of home entertainment services is only going to go up, and the struggle for certain movie theaters to stay alive is going to get harder. Even chains like AMC Theatres may have trouble holding on. But hopefully there will be enough support that we’ll come out of this on the other side with a greater appreciation of movie theaters, and maybe some of those movie theaters will be better about appreciating their customers too.
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