Will You Go See a Movie in Theaters This Summer?

Photo via AMC Theaters on Facebook

Will You Go See a Movie in Theaters This Summer?

By Movieguide® Staff

All it took was a few monsters and movie theaters may be back in business. OK, well, a few monsters, pandemic fatigue, prevalence of a COVID-19 vaccine, and states relaxing their mandates to allow theaters to reopen.

Analysts are predicting a robust return to theaters this summer, with DEADLINE reporting:

One of the analysts, Eric Handler at MKM Partners, released findings from a survey his firm did of 1,000 moviegoers across the U.S. People who said they went to at least one movie a year before Covid-19, were polled between March 31 to April 4. Asked if they plan to return to a movie theater in the near future, 57% of respondents said yes and only 14% said no, with 29% not sure.

The timing of when exactly they will go back depends on variables like the vaccine rollout. About 46% indicated a return in the next three months, but over six months the number rose to 72%. That pattern, Handler wrote, “sets the industry up well as it looks ahead to 2022.”

This is welcome news for theater owners.

“The first quarter has been very frustrating,” Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, recently told The Washington Post“On the other hand, we’re now counting vaccinations instead of test results. I’m sure Europe will move forward quickly once they solve this issue. In July the theatrical business will be back there. Not at 2019 levels. But completely different from where it stands now. … In May I think we can be in full force in the U.S.”

Jason Kilar, chief executive officer of Warner Bros. parent WarnerMedia, is cautiously optimistic.

“I, more than anyone else, would like to see people elbow-to-elbow in movie theaters around the world,” Kilar said in an interview. “But I think it’s going to be a slow build versus an immediate turn-the-switch-back-on situation. I hope I’m proven wrong.”

Understandably, some studios are afraid to risk the theatrical box office after the coronavirus pandemic decimated it in 2020. However, 2021 could be enough of a rebound to reinspire moviegoers and bring the box office revenue back into the conversation.

“With the focus of the industry recovery shifted to [the second half of 2021] and 2022, we believe as long as companies have enough liquidity to make it to the fall/winter slate, then balance sheets become a relative non-event vs. moved stocks in the heart of the pandemic last year,” Eric Wold at B. Riley said. “At this point, we are comfortable that each of the companies in our coverage universe has the appropriate liquidity—especially with the positive moves made by AMC to drive $900 million-plus in additional financing secured since mid-December and the upcoming opportunity to further de-lever the balance sheet.”

A surefire way for studios to generate revenue from the movies they have on the docket is to add in more content that appeals to families and faith audiences and remove excessive violence, language and sexual content from their movies.

“The evidence is abundantly clear,” said Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of Movieguide®. “Moviegoers greatly prefer family-friendly movies. … Most people want to see Good conquer evil, Truth triumph over falsehood, Justice prevail over injustice, Liberty conquer tyranny, and Beauty overcome ugliness. They also would like to take their whole family, including their grandparents, to the movies more often.”