With the reopening of movie theaters across the country, the box office is still trying to return back to pre-pandemic times. However, recently theaters have seen a steady increase in attendance from fans due to new movies such as Venom, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and James Bond’s No Time to Die.
“The lineup of films brought millions and millions of fans to Cinemark Theatres across its 42 states. Cinemark’s October’s box office performance alone was more than double that of May 2021,” according to a press release from Cinemark Holdings Inc. released on Oct. 31.
This trend is becoming more common in theaters in Arizona as well.
“[Attendance at the theaters] is definitely lower than pre-pandemic times but since the movie industry is releasing more movies [we are seeing] an uptake of guests coming in almost on a weekly basis,” said Veronica Lopez, manager of the Majestic Theaters in Tempe.
This is refreshing for movie theaters as they were heavily affected by the closures. To put this into perspective, at the end of the 2019 fiscal year, Cinemark saw $2.5 billion in total revenue, compared to the 2020 fiscal year where they saw $556.9 million in total revenue, a 78.4% difference in only a year.
When the theaters first shut down, it’s safe to say that Diana Damurjian, a junior at ASU majoring in film, was upset by the closure.
“I think for me as someone who is so into film and into movies it was really sad because I knew there were so many people that were putting in so much time and effort into these movies, and people wouldn’t even get to see them in their full fleshed-out form,” said Damurjian.
Damurjian brought up the example of the new movie Dune by director Denis Villeneuve. Damurjian emphasized that this is a movie that you need to watch in theaters despite it being available on HBO Max.
“You need that experience in the theater if you want to really get that full cinematic experience. It’s a movie that’s made to come out in a movie theater where you get that surround sound and that huge screen,” said Damurjian.
These big-name movies being available on streaming services along with in-theaters has become the new normal amidst the pandemic and it looks like this may be the future. Movies such as Suicide Squad, Black Widow, and Space Jam: A New Legacy have all participated in these simultaneous releases.
“People are spending upwards of $100 a year on these streaming services, because if you want everything you have to pay for seven different services. People are also saying ‘Well it eventually is going to be out online, I’m not going to pay $12 a movie ticket when I can just wait a little while and see it later on’,” said Damurjian.
Damurjian believes that this ability to watch movies from home will ultimately hurt movie theaters and the movie industry for a while, but they will eventually recover. However, Lopez believes there not be a large effect.
“I don’t think it will affect it too crazy, being that a lot of people will want to see these big movies on a big screen and get that theater experience,” says Lopez.
Nia Lee, a community health major at ASU, has chosen the route of avoiding the theaters and watching these big-name movies at home to avoid the spread of the virus.
“I personally feel more comfortable watching movies from the comfort of my own home because I know the virus is airborne. I believe that no amount of cleaning in the theaters can stop me from catching the virus from the person next to me or even the person who was here before me,” said Lee.
Lopez said that despite Arizona being open, Majestic Theaters is still following the same safety and cleaning guidelines as it did when it first reopened to maintain the safety of the guests and the staff.
It’s important for movie fans to do whatever is necessary to make sure that they feel comfortable and safe while watching these movies.
This new avenue of being able to watch films from the comfort of your own home is slowly becoming the new trend and it’ll be interesting to see how this trend will reflect in the box office in the coming years.
This content was originally published here.