The COVID-19 coronavirus can be passed through both the air and on surfaces, and the latest studies show that it can linger in the air for hours. To prevent the continued spread of the illness, the two largest cinema chains, AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas, are instituting new “social distancing” measures.
It’s going to take a huge bite out of the box office, but both chains will now only sell 50% of available seats at all showings. Can you imagine if this happened on ‘Avengers: Endgame’ opening weekend?
On top of limiting the number of seats sold, both chains announced “enhanced theater cleaning” and a policy of instructing any employee that feels sick to stay home.
In a statement, AMC wrote:
“As the industry leader, AMC is taking aggressive, nationwide steps to provide additional space between guests within all its U.S. theatres, to keep its theatres clean and to discourage those with health concerns from coming to its theatres.”
The major studios are steadily postponing the openings of some of their biggest movies for the time being. This weekend, the only new pictures that are hitting theaters are relatively small– Sony’s Vin Diesel action flick, ‘Bloodshot’; faith-based teen romance ‘I Still Believe’; and the controversial Blumholuse thriller ‘The Hunt’. None of these were expected to open to huge numbers even without the coronavirus, but now they’re going to make even less.
Even without these limitations that the theaters are putting into place, a large majority of folks are probably already planning to stay home this weekend and in the weeks to come. Many states have already enacted limitations on public gatherings as cases of the disease continue to increase.
Among the movies that have already had their openings postpone are Disney’s live-action ‘Mulan’ remake, Fox leftover ‘New Mutants’, and low-budget horror movie ‘Antlers’, Paramount’s ‘A Quiet Place – Part II’, the 25th James Bond picture, ‘No Time To Die’, would-be Easter flick ‘Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway’, and ‘Fast and Furious 9’, which got the most drastic delay, being pushed to next year!
Most conventions that were to have been held in the coming months have also been canceled, as have music festivals like SXSW. Many movies and TV shows have halted production.
Basically… the world has come to a complete halt. So get cozy on your couch and catch up on your streaming. But check back here for updates on the coronavirus and its impact on the world of entertainment.