Memorial Day could be a test for the film industry
Memorial Day weekend is approaching – traditionally a big day for theaters. It will be a bit of a test for how American consumers feel about going back to the movies.
When the theaters opened last year, they didn’t sell a lot of tickets, which created a downward spiral. Studios didn’t want to release their big movies in empty theaters. So theaters didn’t have new movies to attract people.
“It’s been a real chicken-and-egg situation for some time,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice Pro. But things are improving now. More than half of Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine “and the studios are committed to re-releasing major films, mostly on a weekly basis for the rest of the year.”
It kicks off this Memorial Day weekend with the release of “Cruella,” the Disney origin story, and “A Quiet Place Part II,” the horror movie starring Emily Blunt and John Krasinski.
Sisters Movie House, an independent Oregon theater that just reopened at 50% capacity, will screen both films.
“I’m pretty sure we’ll push these capacity restrictions,” owner Drew Kaza said.
Right now, people are eager to do anything that looks like a return to normalcy. This is especially true for movies, said Jason E. Squire, editor of “The Movie Business Book” and professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.
“There’s this huge pent-up emotional urge to go to theaters, to watch movies in the exciting circumstances of the dark room with strangers around you,” Squire said. “It’s a centuries-old entertainment experience.”
Theaters will have competition. A lot of people have gotten used to streaming movies from their homes. Drew Kaza of the Sisters Movie House said he believed the crowds would keep coming, however.
“We’re pretty optimistic for this year,” Kaza said. “The main reason is that we consider this to be the strongest year in terms of products, possibly of my life. So if that doesn’t attract people, I don’t know what will, but I think it will.
Other films are coming out this summer: “In the Heights”, “Black Widow” and “Fast and Furious 9.”