Last Monday, NY governor Andrew Cuomo announced that movie theatres within the five boroughs of New York City would be allowed to resume operation as of Friday, March 5th. The re-opening of the city’s theatres marks a significant milestone on the road to recovery for exhibition, and for the movie business overall. New York is not only a population center – the largest city in the US – but it is also a hub for media and advertising. Hollywood relies on the city’s entertainment press to focus attention on its new film releases. The year-long closure of theatres in New York and Los Angeles has been a key factor cited by studio executives for holding back on releasing their big-budget films. Many industry watchers also expect Los Angeles to follow New York’s lead and announce plans to re-open theatres in the weeks ahead.
Caution will prevail in the early days of re-opening, with capacity limited to 25% of the pre-pandemic maximum occupancy and mandatory masking. In addition, operators have been required to upgrade air filtration systems, eliminate self-service concessions and enforce seat blocking patterns in their auditoriums. Despite these restrictions, which make it nearly impossible to turn a profit, New York’s exhibitors are relieved to be able to welcome customers back to their theatres.
Read this Flashback: Don’t expect Hollywood blockbusters to return until more cinemas in New York and California reopen (CNBC) from Oct. 7, 2020
See also: Art House Movie Theaters Fight On Amid Pandemic (Hollywood Reporter)