Earlier this week, movie fans were greeted with hopeful news with the Trump Administration including movies under Phase One of their three phase “re-opening” plan in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic. While the rate of theaters opening will vary state by state, it is at least a hopeful sign that things will return to normalcy soon in the entertainment industry, just not as soon as we hope.
As a result of some the largest film markets in the world, New York and Los Angeles, still being closed down and on track for a slower re-opening process, movie blockbusters are less likely to be released anytime soon. Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, recently predicted a current halt on large budget movies as a result of limited exposure, “New York and Los Angeles are going to take a lot more time [to open] than Montana.. Nobody is going to open ‘Mulan’ or ‘Tenet’ if it’s just submarkets.”
Couple this with the high budgets of these tentpoles and the limited box office slots available in rest of the fiscal year, many of these movies might take months if not years to release. No studio would want to release their project, especially with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, with intense competition in limited markets.
While this might be sour news for most fans, it is still a better reality than the one we were looking just a few weeks ago. It might take years for the industry to return to normal, especially from a release schedule standpoint, but for now the future is much clearer and much more optimistic.