A movie theater is the last place people want to be right now, but there is a chance theaters won’t face extinction once they reopen, should covid-19 safety measures be enforced.
According to Deadline, a new study by Edward Norton-backed analytics firm EDO, titled Movie Theaters and Social Distancing, determined that 75 percent of its 3,269 poll-takers would return to the movies if there were strict safety guidelines—91 percent wanted hand-sanitizer stations; 86 percent requested fewer screenings to provide extra time for extra cleaning; 77 percent want staff wearing face masks, and 70 percent want customers to do the same.
Without those measures, only 40 percent of the population said they would be likely to return to theaters.
The film industry has, meanwhile, tried to find alternative ways to stay afloat amid the pandemic. Dreamworks made $100 million by releasing Trolls: World Tour on demand. Drive-in movie theaters, once the image of nostalgic Americana (and also Riverdale) have begun reopening across the country as an alternative and presumably safer option to the traditional movie theater—according to Variety, 150 of the United States’ 306 drive-in theater locations have opened. In states that have begun easing coronavirus safety regulations, some movie theaters have begun opening as well: locations in Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas. Italy will begin doing the same mid-June.
Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Variety, “If you need evidence that the big screen communal moviegoing experience remains appealing to audiences, you need look no further than the excitement surrounding drive-in theaters in North America and around the globe as movie lovers are rediscovering a pastime of a bygone era that now, in the age of COVID-19 is particularly relevant, essential and yes, modern.” And while that’s true, drive-in theaters are much less accessible than traditional, brick-and-mortar locations. But like everything these days, it seems as though movie lovers will take what they can get.