Today, Regal Cinemas announced that the remainder of its open theaters, in California and New York would be closing as a result of the pandemic. There were 11 locations in each state with the lights still on. When this news broke late on November 9th, some folks wondered why Regal would choose to make this announcement in the wake of a President-elect who has vowed to take the pandemic serious, and the potential of a vaccine. Unfortunately, neither of these events change anything in the near future.
AMC's stock might have skyrocketed today in response to the Pfizer vaccination moving forward, but the exhibition industry isn't sitting any prettier than it was yesterday. As it stands, experts currently estimate that it will be late 2021 before things can return to normal. That is a whole lot of runway before the average consumer feels comfortable entering a theater again.
Even if theaters made the decision to remain open for the remainder of the year in an act of faith that some miracle might shift that timeline forward - film studios aren't making that bet. As you can tell from the deluge of stories written by both us and every other film site out there, everyone's shifting into next year. Exceptions remain The Croods 2, and Wonder Woman 1984.
With Europe recently entering another round of quarantine, there's not even hope of distribution making a knee-jerk decision to allow opening in both markets. Which is to say, don't be surprised if AMC follows suit despite getting a healthy stock jump in response to the potential of the pandemic getting under control.
Amelia Emberwing is the Entertainment Editor and lead critic here at What to Watch. She survives on a steady IV of caffeine, rants, pixie dust and fangirling, and will probably sass you. You can find her on Rotten Tomatoes as an individually approved critic. She's also a member of the Television Critics Association and GALECA.
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