Will Movie Theaters Survive Coronavirus? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Will Movie Theaters Survive Coronavirus?

Things are not looking so great for AMC theaters and Regal. Battling coronavirus, and the associated stay-at-home orders that have shuttered theaters across the country and around the world, has resulted in a devastating financial quagmire for AMC and poses a serious challenge for other theater chains as well.

AMC was already operating with substantial debt before the pandemic hit and did not have much leeway for a downturn, much less a complete shutdown!

Of course, AMC is not the only movie theater chain affected by the COVID-19 virus response. It's primary competitor in the US, Regal Cinemas and others are also sitting on a huge amount of dormant movie theater properties.

An article published in the New York Post notes that AMC has furloughed its 25,000 workers and that it informed landlords that it would stop paying rent as of April. Meanwhile Regal Cinemas has recently warned that there would be "significant doubt" as to whether it would survive the financial pressure of the current situation.

Movieweb has an article discussing how AMC's credit has been downgraded to CCC- which stands for "Default imminent, with little prospect for recovery."

Bankruptcies seem likely. Will landlords negotiate new leases to allow theaters to attempt a comeback? Will people want to flock back to theaters, or is it the entertainment equivalent of shaking hands? What will be done about the gap in actual movie production that is now also a consequence of the coronavirus response? What about IMAX and Dolby Cinema, how does this all affect those brands?

Much to ponder.

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post #2 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 06:51 AM
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People will come back to the cinema, but:
1. with masks;
2. in limited numbers;
3. spaced apart;

This will take a while and the cinema chains will need to be patient. In the long term, some will never recover.
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post #3 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Things are not looking so great for AMC theaters and Regal. Battling coronavirus, and the associated stay-at-home orders that have shuttered theaters across the country and around the world, has resulted in a devastating financial quagmire for AMC and poses a serious challenge for other theater chains as well.



AMC was already operating with substantial debt before the pandemic hit and did not have much leeway for a downturn, much less a complete shutdown!



Of course, AMC is not the only movie theater chain affected by the COVID-19 virus response. It's primary competitor in the US, Regal Cinemas and others are also sitting on a huge amount of dormant movie theater properties.



An article published in the New York Post notes that AMC has furloughed its 25,000 workers and that it informed landlords that it would stop paying rent as of April. Meanwhile Regal Cinemas has recently warned that there would be "significant doubt" as to whether it would survive the financial pressure of the current situation.



Movieweb has an article discussing how AMC's credit has been downgraded to CCC- which stands for "Default imminent, with little prospect for recovery."



Bankruptcies seem likely. Will landlords negotiate new leases to allow theaters to attempt a comeback? Will people want to flock back to theaters, or is it the entertainment equivalent of shaking hands? What will be done about the gap in actual movie production that is now also a consequence of the coronavirus response?



Much to ponder.
I do believe landlords will allow for substantial discounts on those properties because of the difficulty associated with finding another tenant for such a property designed for only one purpose. Who are you going to rent it to, another theater conglomerate? The time, cost and logistical nightmare of repurposing the space for another tenant is substantial. I believe theaters could reopen with seating restricted to appropriate social distancing guidelines. It would not be nearly as profitable or sustainable unless you can extract more money per patron. Movie Tavern is set up to do this but you do have the sanitation concerns of a restaurant establishment combined with also disinfecting the movie theater. It is a very challenging environment for the sports and entertainment industry due to the close proximity of patrons. How many people would be comfortable sitting in a protected box designed for just one person when going to the movies and sporting events? Would this even be effective in combating the spread of the virus? Would it be cost effective due to the added cost of these measures, while at the same time reducing the available number of seats in a venue? I just have a hard time imagining feeling comfortable attending a movie or sporting event in the foreseeable future.

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post #4 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by dfa973 View Post
People will come back to the cinema, but:
1. with masks;
2. in limited numbers;
3. spaced apart;

This will take a while and the cinema chains will need to be patient. In the long term, some will never recover.
I worked and managed Novi Michigan General Cinema Theaters 24 years ago. These theater can not sustain without government assistance.
Why?? Movie production costs are in the Rental Price of the movie being shown. Hollywood and their 100 Million+ productions cost more to rent. I'll give you an example from back in the day: Jurassic Park was 10K a week, two copies run to 4 auditoriums, we made a killing on that. Everybody got a little bonus from the company.
Under Siege 2 came out, rental cost was $5000 per week. It flopped at my location. It made only $3000 on ticket sales. 2nd week we pulled it from the platters, canned it back up, and sent it home. We lost 2K on that movie for one week. Now let me remind you, back then we were only making .10 cents profit on every ticket sold because of rental prices for movie to be shown in theater.
Those high concession prices people bitch about, those cover the managers, use to projectionist then, and the floor employees. Oh and the after midnight cleaning companies.

Now with incite from someone who ran one, do you honestly now think they sustain without a bail out? Are they are priority to bail out? Anyone could see with streaming and the rise of home theater sales this was eventual. Before streaming I said if they charge $25-50 for a new release at home, theaters will die a slow death. Well look now, charging between $20 non uhd to 24.99 UHD.

Its Over. There will be a few small mom and pop shows like the $1 shows of old. 100 million+ productions=done after this. $25 Million+ to one actor, yeah that needed to stop 15 years ago.
The world will be forever changed after this.
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post #5 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 09:32 AM
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Hollywood is full of hypocrites and COVID-19 has exposed the rank hypocrisy.

I read with interest Christopher Nolan's opinion article stating that theaters should be bailed out along with other bidnesses and people should help theaters by flocking back once the pandemic is done. But the biggest ongoing threat that theaters face is not a virus but the abject greed of the studios, specifically the astronomical fees they charge theaters to show their movies.

The studios claim the vast majority of the box office take for themselves (Disney is the worst offender, so much so that there are smaller independent theaters which refuse to show their movies because they make no money on them). That is why theaters charge high prices for concessions because if they solely sold tickets as their bidness model, they would go out of bidness.

So why don't multimillionaires like Nolan ask his billionaire studio bosses to forgo buying their next luxury yachts and instead charge the theaters maybe a tiny bit less before they ask the peasants for pennies and beg for free money from the government?

EDIT: the worldwide box office take for 2019 was $42.5 billion. There is enough liquidity in the entertainment industry to rescue themselves. So Hollywood should take 10% of that and help themselves while the government saves bailout money for distressed essential industries.
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post #6 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by dfa973 View Post
People will come back to the cinema, but:
1. with masks;
2. in limited numbers;
3. spaced apart;

This will take a while and the cinema chains will need to be patient. In the long term, some will never recover.
Nope. Only a few germaphobes will wear masks. Where I live virtually nobody wears masks. I was shopping yesterday and went to the local park. 95% without masks.
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post #7 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 10:21 AM
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I wonder if large movie studios in general survive this. I feel that no longer needing access to big-name theaters opens the door to newer, younger, less greedy studios to come in and take over. It may be the studios needed the theaters more than they thought. Theaters would show big-name flicks because it drew crowds to their concession stands. Theaters around me rarely picked up indie films because it'd take a room from a bigger, more well known, movie that drew a larger crowd. Once the theaters are gone, that leverage is gone, and they all compete more equally for the night's spot on an home owner's screen (or multiple screens). In fact, they also compete with other television.

Well, that's what these fools get for playing the short-game, IMO. To some extent, I hope they drown. Actors and actresses want to act, so, they'll be doing what they do on YouTube or whatever the next thing is. It's the cruft in the middle that takes the hit and that's a lot of jobs, so...we'll see how it plays out. I won't cry for the greedy studio executives, though...I hope they have made enough money off their greed to get by if and when no one wants them any more.
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post #8 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 11:04 AM
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Chris Nolan has backed away from his Netflix slamming, so who knows what he wants or prefers. Not knowing, I'll just guess money from anywhere.

Bailout? It's not only COVID-19. Mass shootings, obnoxious theatergoers, street punks harrassing, car vandalism, etc. have taken their toll over the years.

The most prevalent detractor is "home theater". This can be anything from a streaming TV to a full-blown mini-theater--which is all many multi-theater boxes are these days. Without the benefit of "Pause".

So, no bailout.

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post #9 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Star56 View Post
Nope. Only a few germaphobes will wear masks. Where I live virtually nobody wears masks. I was shopping yesterday and went to the local park. 95% without masks.
It's far from safe in The Wild, with or without. Stay safe. Cocoon as much as possible.
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post #10 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 11:44 AM
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I'm hoping that studios will finally be forced to do Day and Date like they should have a decade or two ago, with many theaters disappearing, as they should have a decade or two ago. Once Day and Date is available, then specialty theaters that offer a really good AV experience or food/drink options can compete with watching at home, on a level playing field. The studios shouldn't be artificially propping up an outdated and obsolete concept like movie theaters, they should release everywhere and let the market decide. Also, this won't be the end of great movies and great quality TV content, it might just be that different companies are going to producing and distributing them in a different way. It could be Day and Date $20 digital rentals, it could be disc/digital sales for $25-$30, it could be Netflix and Amazon through subscription services.
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post #11 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 12:25 PM
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Niche Theaters definitely will survive because its more about the experience than watching the movie, however as a whole thats an interesting question, I know AMC CEO let slip that if they dont open back up by June that they will be in severe financial trouble. Could you imagine AMC going under? its my favorite of the theater chains... that would be pretty sad.

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If a vaccine is discovered in the next year or so, people will flock back as the threat will be gone. If not, in 2 years after enough people have caught it to create a herd immunity, people will return again en masse because people will want to get out of the house. Some big chain will likely not survive, making it more likely the few that remain will create a monopoly.
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post #13 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panson View Post
Chris Nolan has backed away from his Netflix slamming, so who knows what he wants or prefers. Not knowing, I'll just guess money from anywhere.

Bailout? It's not only COVID-19. Mass shootings, obnoxious theatergoers, street punks harrassing, car vandalism, etc. have taken their toll over the years.

The most prevalent detractor is "home theater". This can be anything from a streaming TV to a full-blown mini-theater--which is all many multi-theater boxes are these days. Without the benefit of "Pause".

So, no bailout.
Agreed, and well said.
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post #14 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 02:02 PM
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I wonder if large movie studios in general survive this. I feel that no longer needing access to big-name theaters opens the door to newer, younger, less greedy studios to come in and take over. It may be the studios needed the theaters more than they thought. Theaters would show big-name flicks because it drew crowds to their concession stands. Theaters around me rarely picked up indie films because it'd take a room from a bigger, more well known, movie that drew a larger crowd. Once the theaters are gone, that leverage is gone, and they all compete more equally for the night's spot on an home owner's screen (or multiple screens). In fact, they also compete with other television.

Well, that's what these fools get for playing the short-game, IMO. To some extent, I hope they drown. Actors and actresses want to act, so, they'll be doing what they do on YouTube or whatever the next thing is. It's the cruft in the middle that takes the hit and that's a lot of jobs, so...we'll see how it plays out. I won't cry for the greedy studio executives, though...I hope they have made enough money off their greed to get by if and when no one wants them any more.
Whatever movies have been completed may have to exclusively get distributed via the streaming pay per view route. It would likely be the only way for the studios to try to recoup some of the production costs of the those films. With production on new movies and TV shows pretty much shut down, the studios would face a gigantic challenge if and when a vaccine has been approved and there were enough quantities shipped out and administered to insure that the spread of the virus had been stopped. My suspicion is that many properties that were scheduled to go into production would now never see the light of day. The studios couldn't afford them since they would almost be starting from square one. It's going to very painful time for everyone.
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post #15 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 04:48 PM
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The movies theaters will come back. People like going to the movies. I won't predict what popcorn, candy, hot dogs, and soda will cost though.

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post #16 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 06:19 PM
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Niche Theaters definitely will survive because its more about the experience than watching the movie, however as a whole thats an interesting question, I know AMC CEO let slip that if they dont open back up by June that they will be in severe financial trouble. Could you imagine AMC going under? its my favorite of the theater chains... that would be pretty sad.
AMC is owned a by a large Chinese conglomerate, something the analysts aren't mentioning. They'll probably file for bankruptcy protection (a very common thing) if they can get it. If movie theater chains go under, there will be bigger ripples in the economy then people think. Lots of associated industries will be affected, along with job losses.

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post #17 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 06:26 PM
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I'm hoping that studios will finally be forced to do Day and Date like they should have a decade or two ago, with many theaters disappearing, as they should have a decade or two ago. Once Day and Date is available, then specialty theaters that offer a really good AV experience or food/drink options can compete with watching at home, on a level playing field. The studios shouldn't be artificially propping up an outdated and obsolete concept like movie theaters, they should release everywhere and let the market decide. Also, this won't be the end of great movies and great quality TV content, it might just be that different companies are going to producing and distributing them in a different way. It could be Day and Date $20 digital rentals, it could be disc/digital sales for $25-$30, it could be Netflix and Amazon through subscription services.
Day and date 50 to 60 dollars rental, 24 hour window. Most of the home market won't pay more than 6 dollars for a rental. Home theater as we know it is a niche and to many it's too expensive for what it does. The public wants cheap, it always has.
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post #18 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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AMC is owned a by a large Chinese conglomerate, something the analysts aren't mentioning. They'll probably file for bankruptcy protection (a very common thing) if they can get it. If movie theater chains go under, there will be bigger ripples in the economy then people think. Lots of associated industries will be affected, along with job losses.
Everyone should watch what Amazon, Netflix, Disney, Apple and.... Comcast do next. Maybe especially Comcast since it has the vertical nailed, cable + internet + TV+ Hollywood + theme park.

I wish I could "crystal ball" this one but I cannot. Movie theaters are about the worst environment I can think of, if your concern is avoiding strangers with infectious disease. And if the theaters are already operating on thin margins when the economy is humming, how can limiting capacity during a recession possibly promise anything but shuttered amphiteaters?

Maybe this is a truly special scenario. Maybe a movie theater bailout is needed, which I say even though I cannot stand them. Can't stand them at all. But.. I was a teenager once, lol.
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post #19 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 07:27 PM
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We've been AMC A-List members since last summer. While there were times that we didn't get as much as our money's worth, we kept the membership. It's currently on freeze but I'm not sure if once "they" decide it's safe to return to the water errr I mean cinemas, if we'll be heading back.




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Where I live virtually nobody wears masks. I was shopping yesterday and went to the local park. 95% without masks.
That's sad and frustrating to read.

Has your local government essentially downplayed the epidemic? I'm out in AZ and the governor didn't issue a shelter in place until the 30th to take effect on the 31st at 5 p.m.

However, nothing really changed considering he made pretty much everything, including golf courses, exempt. Off the top of my head, the only places that were forced to shut down were gyms. By that point, I think most of them already were. Just a few days ago, hair/nail salons were forced to close.

I've noticed, stores in nicer areas are being more cautious than those in not as nice area. Also, less people wore masks in the not as nice areas.

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post #20 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 07:40 PM
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I can't see theatres reopening until after the population has been vaccinated.
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post #21 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 08:03 PM
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Question

Movie theaters will evolve to either cut costs and show less costly but good independent films like radius or they may evolve to a revival of the drive in cinema with all patrons safe in each vehicle and drone vehicle delivery of sodas hotdogs etc.
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post #22 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Panson View Post
Chris Nolan has backed away from his Netflix slamming, so who knows what he wants or prefers. Not knowing, I'll just guess money from anywhere.

Bailout? It's not only COVID-19. Mass shootings, obnoxious theatergoers, street punks harrassing, car vandalism, etc. have taken their toll over the years.

The most prevalent detractor is "home theater". This can be anything from a streaming TV to a full-blown mini-theater--which is all many multi-theater boxes are these days. Without the benefit of "Pause".

So, no bailout.
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Agreed, and well said.
I have nearly stopped going because it's so much easier to just put a disk in the player in my HT room and watch. Unless I manage to get a Regal RPX or AMC Dolby Cinema theater room my HT space sounds better and looks better and I'm not taking a chance of having a bad audience experience.

On the flip side when I have gone to the theater and there's been a good audience the experience is most certainly better/enhanced.

I'm thinking one third to a half the theaters out there will close down. I hope they improve the quality of the remainder. Tukwila WA (near me) has both an AMC and a Regal. There is also a Regal (with RPX) just down the road at the Renton Landing and also very close was one by Valley Hospital (looks like that one has closed), I'm thinking the Tukwila Regal may close too, having 3 Regal Cinemas that close was not a good idea. On the other hand the Tukwila Regal has a lot of folks that walk to it from nearby restaurants and apartments, when I've gone there the parking lot is 3/4 empty and the seats are full so folks must be walking from somewhere.

There are really so many unknowns right now. Once immunity testing is more prevalent we could discover that more people are immune than we think and herd immunity will take 6 months, or it could take 2 years for herd immunity or a vaccine or no vaccine or...<insert more speculation>.

Right now I'm enjoying my HT space. I have over 200 disks in my Netflix queue (I've been working a lot of 50 to 70 hour weeks the last few years) and I have Farscape and The X-files on BD to watch along with other great TV shows and movies. I'm doing home workouts, running, getting caught up around the house and yard, and trying to keep my parents safe by doing their shopping.

Be safe!
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post #23 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 10:08 PM
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I only go to the theater for Marvel films for the last few years, and only because if I don't go opening night, it will get spoiled. For all other films, big or small, I'd rather save my money and buy the 4k Blu-ray, which is still cheaper than one theater trip for my wife and I.

But I don't see myself going to any theater this year, not even for Black Widow or James Bond. However, judging by what seems like a very large percentage of the population not taking this virus seriously, I guess they may flock back to theaters. Or maybe it's just political lines and a certain group that still thinks it's a hoax will go to the theaters and the rest will not. Who knows.

Either way, I hope the Hollywood system crashes. People at the bottom barely paying rent, independent theaters getting squeezed out of business, while lead actors and execs make tens of millions a year, and stockholders take billions. I hate that anyone is dying right now, that's terrible, but I'm not going to cry if theater chains and studios shutter. (I'm almost certain Disney will learn no lessons and will go back to status quo and ruining more beloved franchises. They're almost too big to fail now.)

Chris Nolan is one of my favorite directors, but his recent comments look completely self centered, self important, and arrogant. People are dying, and he's worried about the billion dollar studio profits.
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post #24 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 10:16 PM
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This is actually a good concern as if this last 2 years like some are saying, how the heck with movie theatres survive 2 years with no revenue. Personally, I don’t go to the movies anymore, maybe once a year so this won’t really affect me.

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post #25 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 10:37 PM
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isn't AMC owned by American hater Wanda?

interesting scenarios to think about.. world without AMC.. to be honest I don't care for the full digital world.. yes its funny I write this but I have a kid and when toys r us shut down, I was like... what's this world come to.. I'm sure every generation says this. I just hope theaters don't go anywhere as I don't want to imagine a life where everything we do is based at home.

maybe they morph into like entertainment plex where you play games, watch the show if you like, eat there as well.....
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post #26 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 11:17 PM
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Nope. Only a few germaphobes will wear masks. Where I live virtually nobody wears masks. I was shopping yesterday and went to the local park. 95% without masks.
The same. Maybe it's because many sources say only infected people need masks. I don't know is that true or not. I just don't go outside

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post #27 of 286 Old 04-09-2020, 11:23 PM
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"An article published in the New York Post notes that AMC has furloughed its 25,000 workers and that it informed landlords that it would stop paying rent as of April."


well...the end. One caveat. I find that the studio movie grill private party approach works and may still work. As far as a large number of strangers coming together to sit in a big dark room and pay through the nose for everything? Not a chance. Disease precautions plus minimal discretionary income = closure of the traditional movie theater concept.
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post #28 of 286 Old 04-10-2020, 12:46 AM
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Movie Theaters will reopen and might be start with some hottest movies and limited tickets. But whether people will go there is a mistery.....
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post #29 of 286 Old 04-10-2020, 06:28 AM
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This process we are going through exposes weakness that in boom-times would not be a story. Marginal business will fail from this, robust ones will come back others will struggle for a long time. Movie theater attendance has been on steep decline for a long time this just hastens the inevitable death.


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post #30 of 286 Old 04-10-2020, 06:50 AM
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*snip* I don't want to imagine a life where everything we do is based at home. *snip*
Me neither, but it seems like we need to imagine something new because I feel like the social fabric is changing.


I'm curious what the break-down is between those itching to get back out there vs those willing to stay home forever letting drones deliver everything to their doors. How many hermits did this thing create? How many will await a vaccine before re-entering the world?



This one is tough to call in a general sense for sure. In my area, though, with theaters already significantly under used, I can see doors closing never to be re-opened.
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