90% of Movie Theaters Expected to Reopen by July

Woman eating popcorn in theater

The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) has predicted that 90% of the country’s movie theaters will be open by July, just in time for the release of new movies like Disney’s live-action Mulan Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.

The movie theater industry has suffered a devastating hit this year with even the largest chain AMC Theaters on the brink of bankruptcy. The theater chain says its future is relying on the response moviegoers go take to resuming business as usual after the pandemic.

“We believe we have the cash resources to reopen our theatres and resume our operations this summer or later,” the company said. “Our liquidity needs thereafter will depend, among other things, on the timing of a full resumption of operations, the timing of movie releases and our ability to generate revenues. We cannot assure you that our assumptions used to estimate our liquidity requirements will be correct because we have never previously experienced a complete cessation of our operations, and as a consequence, our ability to be predictive is uncertain.”

While theaters are relying on blockbuster movies to draw in the crowds, those movies may not even get released if there aren’t enough venues in operation. WarnerBros Entertainment needs at least 80% of theaters to be up and running around the country in order to release Tenet and make it profitable. The film cost $200 million to make and with director Christopher Nolan skimming 20% right off the top, the movie will need to play on at least 3,500 in the U.S. and 30,000 more around the world to make it worth its time at the box office.

The question is whether people are ready to jump right back into movie-going right away, or if more people are planning on holding out until later in the year to avoid the crowds and a possible second coronavirus outbreak.

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