Georgia is aiming to reopen some businesses on April 27, with Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida not far behind. That includes movie theaters. But the National Association of Theatre Owners says that even if they’re allowed to reopen, they won’t do so until authorities deem it safe, and markets across the country are able to reopen.
They have safety concerns about rushing to reopen. Plus, there’s the issue of what to show. Production in Hollywood has shut down due to coronavirus, and without new films, there’ll be no demand to go to the movies. Theater owners will likely take their cues from big studios, who will wait until crowds can return. It makes no sense to release films to socially distanced audiences — especially for movies with upwards of $100 million budgets.
All the spring tentpole movies have been pushed to later premiere dates. The first film hanging onto its original release date is Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” due on July 17. Nolan is committed to seeing films in theaters, and has indicated he’d like to be the first director to have a movie back in theaters if it’s safe to do so. But if the film is released too soon, and people don’t feel safe in crowds, it could undermine Warner Bros., the studio releasing “Tenet.”
Other big films are lining up after “Tenet.” Disney’s “Mulan” is set to release the following weekend in July, then Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman 1984” will come out in August. But the studios aren’t holding everything for a theatrical release. Warner Bros. has opted to release its new Scooby-Doo movie “SCOOB!” via video-on-demand in May.