On Monday, Los Angeles and twelve other California counties are stepping down from Red to Orange COVID-19 risk level, which further loosens restrictions on public activities such as moviegoing. At the Orange risk level, theatres will be allowed to welcome up to 50% of their pre-pandemic maximum audiences for any film screening, a level which many exhibitors have indicated will allow them to operate profitably.
The LA market is a lynchpin for exhibition, representing the largest movie market in the country. Until recently, theatres in the LA and New York markets were forced to close during the pandemic, causing many studios either to postpone theatrical releases or redirect their films to streaming. Even with theatres open in other US markets, the shortage of new Hollywood releases impacted moviegoing nationwide. In fact, what’s good for a 20-screen multiplex in Los Angeles is also good for main street movie houses across America, since success in major markets drives studio release plans.