Movie theaters reopen after COVID-19 pandemic


Most movie theaters shut down in March of 2020. However, many are now seeing somewhat of a return to normalcy.

Emma Powell, a senior at Pioneer High School, recalls her enjoyment of going to the movies for social outings before the pandemic. With the grand reopening in April of this year, Powell has been able to return to the theaters again.

Movie theaters, as well as other recreational activities like bowling centers and restaurants, had to shut down due to the massive lockdown back in March of 2020. On April. 8, Ann Arbor’s Cinemark stated on their Twitter account, ​​“The closure of Cinemark theatres is temporary and a direct result of COVID-19 health and safety regulations. We look forward to reopening when it is safe to do so.”  

Many people were upset to hear this. “I missed watching movies for the first time with others,” Powell recalled. “All reacting together, guessing what’s going to happen.” Movie theaters opened back up in early fall of 2020, but shortly after the second wave of Covid hit, they were all forced to shut down again. 

But with the second return, many hope that the theaters will continue to remain open. Now, on their website, Cinemark said that there are some health regulations required to ensure everyone stays safe. People are required to social distance and wear masks at all times until arriving to their seats. Restrooms are also sanitized at least every 30 minutes. 

In a Cinemark Holdings, Inc earnings conference held on Aug. 6 regarding second quarter earnings in 2021, chief executive officer and board director of Cinemark Mark Zorad said that Cinemark has been able to maintain their business. 

“The second quarter recovery of our industry and business progressed at a faster rate than we expected,” said Zorad. “The box office in North America has more than tripled since the big reopening. The total revenues made June 30, 2021 three months ended was $294,652 compared to the $8,974 made in June 30, 2020 three months ended. That’s a $285,678 difference.” 

Unfortunately, not all businesses can recover from almost a full year of lockdown. After shutting down on March 16 of 2020,Quality 16 attempted to re-open its theaters in October of that same year, but was forced to close down during the second wave of the pandemic. Quality 16 used the closure to plan for its next reopening. closed the theatre during its planned time to get healthy. But with a year remaining on its lease, Quality 16 may decide to let the lease expire with the lack of profit from its closure, according to an article from the Ann Arbor Observer. A year from now, Ann Arbor  may no longer have a Quality 16.

Many people question if the Delta variant will force more theaters to shut down again Mark Zorad stated that he remains “confident in the resurgence of the theatrical exhibition as the virus is contained.” 

While the future may seem uncertain, students and families like Powell are enjoying the experience of watching movies in-person for now. 

“I’m really happy that they’ve opened back up even if it’s just for a little while.”