Movie theater operators, after a year of dismal ticket sales during the pandemic, are hoping a lineup of superheroes, fighter pilots and cinema’s most famous spy will help them stage a comeback in 2021.
Roughly two-thirds of theaters remain shut in the United States and Canada, normally the world’s largest film market. Box office receipts in 2020 plunged 80% from a year earlier.
But theater owners and industry analysts see reason for optimism as COVID-19 vaccines roll out and James Bond, Black Widow and other heroes star in new blockbusters set to begin lighting up screens in the spring.
“I think we’ll see a lot of improvements throughout 2021, but I do think it will take some time to get there,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst with BoxOfficePro.com. “It won’t be an overnight return to normal by any means.”
The timing of any rebound is uncertain, as debut dates could change. Hollywood executives have repeatedly shuffled their schedules as they try to judge when the pandemic will fade. Initial excitement over vaccines has been tempered by slow distribution. And audiences will have more choices to stream at home.
Currently, studios plan to send theaters a heavy lineup of big-budget movies that were yanked from the 2020 schedule. – Reuters
Source: The News