This weekend will be the first US Box Office period under the official pandemic status for the Covid-19 Coronavirus. While this is not one of the busiest periods of the year for movies, we are just a couple of months away from blockbuster season. It will be interesting to see how many people are willing to sit in a theater with strangers tonight to see Vin Diesel in Bloodshot. One thing is for sure, theaters don’t want to shut down like everyone else and they are starting to roll-out plans that they think will keep moviegoing safe.
AMC and Regal are activating a social distancing initiative on the 14th of March that will go until at least April 30th. The plan calls for limiting theaters to just 50% capacity. It’s also interesting that the plan is currently scheduled to end on May 1st, the start of blockbuster season and the day Marvel’s Black Widow is hitting theaters.
For their part, Alamo Drafthouse is “deactivating” sections of seats to help make sure that there’s less of a chance that you’ll be sitting next to a sick person.
Are these plans useful? Of course not. They are the same as TSA screenings that make us feel safe, but that fail 97% of the tests of their efficacy. In the end, it’s your choice. If you want to see the movie bad enough, go for it, as long as you aren’t sick and you don’t have any high-risk conditions. Either way, it’s probably a moot point. Don’t be surprised if the theaters start announcing closures sometime next week.