It’s a hellish time for movie theatre operators

Mike Jiggens

Share Adjust Comment Print

There have been a number of theatrical releases of late that are getting good reviews by the critics. It’s too bad only a handful of people are venturing to the cinema to see them.

I’d love to see one or two of these myself, but I’m not willing to take my chances sitting for two hours inside an enclosed theatre while wearing a mask when I’m not stuffing my face with concession stand junk food. In Simcoe and Tillsonburg, the local cinemas are closed until further notice. While I have three Cineplex gift cards that remain unused, I have no desire to go to Brantford to watch a movie under the cloud of a pandemic that isn’t getting any better.

This is a hellish time for movie theatre operators. It’s tough to make a buck when only a certain number of patrons are allowed to sit in front of one screen. The mom and pop cinemas are having a tougher go at this when they have only one or two screens available and are unable to get any quality films to show. The lesser of two evils is for them to shut down for the time being rather than take a loss because there are few people willing to sit and watch a substandard movie while the theatre forks out good money to pay staff working in a mostly vacant building.

Fortunately, my Cineplex gift cards have no expiry date, so I’m willing to wait a few months for some of the movies I’m hankering to see to either come out on DVD or be added to Netflix’s play list. As a big fan of the James Bond series, I was looking forward to the release of No Time to Die on its original scheduled release date last April. Anticipating the shutdown of movie theatres due to the pandemic, the studio postponed the movie’s release until this November. And now it’s been postponed yet again until April 2021. I’m not holding my breath that it will be ready to go by then.

Studios are reluctant to send blockbuster movies straight to video or make them available for immediate streaming because they’ll never see a return on their investment. Instead, they’re putting them off until we reach a healthier state when people can safely fill the seats of a movie theatre again. Who knows when that might be?

For the past 25 years, I’ve never missed a Bond movie on its opening night. I’ll likely be breaking with tradition this April unless something really gives between now and then. I’m content to wait for the Blu-ray release because, as far as I’m concerned, it’s “no time to die” for me. I will have waited an entire year anyway, so what’s a few more months?

There’s really no comparison between the theatre experience and the living room experience when watching a movie. At least that’s the case in healthier times. But when cinemas are unable to make a go of it, or if the public is not willing to risk their lives, watching movies from the couch is the next best alternative. As long as you’re willing to wait a while longer for the blockbusters to come out, there’s plenty of quality viewing available in the meantime.

It’s unfortunate that the nature of this pandemic has made so many things out of bounds for the time being or has turned them into “come at your own risk” ventures. Until things improve, the big screen simply doesn’t have the same appeal as the comparatively safer small screen.

My Cineplex gift cards may gather a little dust until they’re finally used – and they will be used – but I first need to hear a prognosis that’s a little more optimistic and reassuring.

 

Comments