Box Office: Nationwide Shutdown of All Cinemas is Unprecedented


The nationwide shutdown of virtually all cinemas is unprecedented and could last at least 10 – 12 wks, potentially disrupting the prime Summer release calendar.

The 3 largest theater chains in the United States have announced that all of their movie theaters will close indefinitely as cinemas go dark across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tuesday, Cinemark said it is closing all of its 345 sites “temporarily” as a proactive measure in support of its employees, guests and communities. The announcement came following AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas saying Monday that all their theaters will shutter.

Hollywood and the film industry stand to lose many billions at the box office. If theaters stay closed through May, the deficit globally could be $17-B, according to analysts.

The week began with a White House press conference last Monday in which guidance was given for Americans to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.

At the weekend, more than than 12 states and locales have mandated that movie theaters, bars and restaurants must close, including in New York City and Los Angeles, the country’s 2 busiest moviegoing markets.

Also, 5 other chains also announced plans to close Monday: the Landmark, Harkins Theaters, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Showcase Cinemas and Bow Tie Cinemas. Both the Landmark and Alamo are indie chains, similar to ArcLight and Pacific Theaters, which are likely to go dark sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Canadian exhibition giant Cineplex said it will be shutting down all of its locations until 2 April.

Exhibition sources told the press they expect most, if not all, cinemas to follow suit by the end of the week. All told, the country has more than 5,400 theaters.

Major theater chains had tried to adjust their protocols multiple times amid the fast-moving coronavirus pandemic, but closure became inevitable, similar to much of Europe and major Asian markets such as China, where there has been a complete blackout on moviegoing for 7 weeks.

Studios are delaying high-profile films and, in the case of NBCUniversal, releasing current movies on premium VOD in an effort to maintain some sort of revenue pipeline.

Have a healthy week, stay home!

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