Movie theaters were hit hard during the pandemic. However, as vaccines continue to roll out, theater attendance is slowly climbing back up. This weekend’s release of “Godzilla vs. Kong” racked up $48.5 million at the box office, marking the highest showing of pandemic film. But despite the increase in attendance, some major markets are still at risk for complete shutdown, specifically the theater industry of New York City.
While theaters in Texas and Florida are nearing 75% capacity, NYC still has a 25% cap. Joe Masher, president of New York NATO, claims this precedent cannot keep theaters afloat for much longer. According to Masher, theaters desperately need to be open at 50% or more by Memorial Day and the release of “Cruella” and “A Quiet Place 2.” Even further, if movie theaters aren’t nearing the 75% capacity limit by July 4, for “Top Gun Maverick” and “Black Widow,” the industry could be in trouble.
New York City theater employment is also an unfortunate consequence of the limited capacity. Masher says that while the reopening has brought back some people, 5,000 theater employees still remain unemployed. The NATO board member argues that the limited capacity is a result of Governor Cuomo’s trepidation towards outbreak, despite no proven cases of Covid-19 cases from theaters.
I may be a little biased in the matter, but Cuomo’s fears about movie theaters seems a little hypocritical given the restrictions on other businesses. Indoor dining in New York City is back at 50% capacity, and you’d think people eating and drinking without masks would be more problematic than a socially distanced theater viewing. But I digress. Only time will tell if Cuomo and the city of New York ease up on restrictions. Until then, support your local theaters and go see a movie (staying safe, of course). Anyone that reads Metaflix has some relationship with movie theaters, and it’d be a shame if the industry became obsolete.