Theaters struggle through the Pandemic

By: Sean McNerney

Movie theaters have been a community staple in America for many years. Before news of the COVID-19 pandemic, most friends and families would head to the theaters to see the initial premiere of large movie titles. Now a year later, everything changed. 

A student at SUNY Brockport, Jake Macheda, can’t wait to get back to the theatres. He has been feeling more bored than ever and just wants things to feel like normal. 

“When I was younger one of my favorite things to do was go to the movies, there’s something special about walking into the theatre,” Macheda said. “The feeling of grabbing that movie theatre popcorn and sitting in a massive cinema is an experience you can’t recreate.”

AMC Theater (Photo Credit: lamag.com)

The CEO of AMC Entertainment, Adam Aron says there was a large struggle at the start of the pandemic for theaters. 

“Who would have thought that we would be locked in our homes and apartments for almost a year,” Aron says. “We went from having 480 million dollars a month in revenue to zero dollars a month in revenu literally overnight, and when I say overnight I mean literally overnight.”

The COVID-19 pandemic shocked the industry when everything was unexpectedly shut down overnight. This caused a large effect on the short term success of AMC and other movie theatres around the nation. 

A few months later Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that movie theaters outside of New York City can reopen at 25 percent capacity starting October 23.

In March of this year, the world’s largest Movie theatre chain AMC Entertainment said roughly 527 out of its 589 domestic theaters were open, including those in New York City.

As time goes on and summer approaches more and more theatres will begin to open. Governor Andrew Cuomo allowed movie theatres and family entertainment businesses to open until 11 p.m. as of last month. This change allows businesses to gain extra revenu and shift the public back to a normal setting.

Another student at SUNY Brockport, Josh Rubin, plans on seeing many of the movies coming out this summer. 

“Going to the movies is one of my favorite things to do with my friends and family. I have been going to movies since I can remember and will hopefully never stop going,” said Rubin. “I am very excited to see Mortal Kombat soon as well at the new Fast and Furious movie.” 

New movies coming out in the summer allows for a potential comeback in the movie theater industry. 

Brockport Strand Theater (Photo Credit: Sean McNerney)

The Brockport Strand Theater has also been heavily affected by the pandemic. The Strand is a small theater in Brockport that many locals enjoy. The general Manager of the Rochester Theater Management, Jason Yantz is hopeful for the future, but wants to see more restrictions lifted.

“Tentative reopening date is May 28, by then there will be constant releases like Cruella and A Quiet Place 2,” Yantz said. “Our largest issue is our restricted occupancy, we are currently restricted to 33% but the Strands theaters are so small that we need at least 50% in order to generate income to survive.”

Rubin has been feeling a bit overwhelmed with the recent college semester and would love to take a step back and unwind with a movie at the Strand. 

“When I came to SUNY Brockport as a freshman one of the first things I did was go to the Strand. My friends and I would always walk around town so heading into the strand was bound to happen,” Rubin said. “I hope that the strand opens soon because the semester is coming to an end, at the very least I hope it’s up and running by next semester.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to be creative in order to stay open. Large movie theaters have done enough to keep their doors open for years to come. While local theaters are still struggling, movie enthusiasts hope for a promising summer for both local and nationwide theaters.



Categories: Business and Entertainment

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