Regal Cinemas is one of the largest movie theater chains in the country and they have been completely shut down for months due to the pandemic. There has been a lingering question on when they could reopen for business, and it looks like the company has decided to share exactly when they hope to be back up and running. And it will all hinge on the two largest movie theater markets in the United States.
The company tweeted from its official account exactly when they are planning to reopen their Regal Cinemas chain, but they add a pretty specific caveat. Check out the tweet right here:
Yes, it looks like Regal Cinemas is making plans to reopen their many movie theaters in March, but only if New York City and Los Angeles allow them to do so. They are not exactly being clear on what they mean by “allow.” Other than granting permission to the company to reopen its doors, are they more specifically talking about being able to fill their theaters to capacity? What kind of guidelines will Regal be following if and when they do reopen? Are they going to take things slow and offer limited booking or do they want to reopen at full power and need New York City and Los Angeles to allow them that?
More importantly, just how eager will audiences be to pack into a Regal Cinemas movie theater? We know that there is definitely a contingent of the U.S. population that is eager to go back to theaters. The first-weekend box office of Wonder Woman 1984 proved that folks will show up as best as they can in this pandemic for an event movie. But, it still looks like most people are going to be pretty hesitant about returning to theaters for quite a while. That is a big reason why WarnerMedia decided to release their full 2021 slate of movies to HBO Max and theaters at the same time. If audiences are going to come back to movie theaters, it will probably take a big chunk of the year before things return to something close to normal.
There might be another reason why Regal Cinemas is looking forward to reopening in March if possible. It is the first month that currently has a number of releases that have some larger potential to break out if audiences feel comfortable showing up. As of now, theatrical releases for March include the Disney animated epic Raya and the Last Dragon, the Daisy Ridley/Tom Holland sci-fi adventure Chaos Walking, the long-delayed action sequel The King’s Man, and the Jared Leto superhero movie Morbius. All of these probably won’t do enormous numbers but they are the highest-profile releases we have seen in a while.
But, the real reason for Regal Cinemas to open in March is to prepare for the first week of April when the James Bond blockbuster No Time to Die is slated to release. If they can be in business for a month and get customers comfortable with coming back to theaters in larger numbers, they can feel more secure that No Time to Die could be a legitimate hit that reenergizes the moviegoing industry. We will simply have to wait and see if mass vaccination efforts have taken off by then and if people feel safe enough to head back to the movies.