As movie theaters are shuttered nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, movie theater owners have to look ahead at a strategy to bounce back from the loss of being closed for what will likely be months. One strategy seems to be easing the consumer back into the multiplex slowly by offering up free content.
In an interview with “Screen Rant“, The National Association of Theatre Owners chief communications officer Patrick Corcoran, suggested movie theaters may open for free when they’re back up and running again. This would follow the same strategy that China is implementing as they begin to reopen their theaters after dealing with the coronavirus pandemic first. Theaters in that country are beginning by running old movies first such as AVATAR, AVENGERS: ENDGAME and HARRY POTTER at no cost to the consumer. This is a tactic that will only work if movie theaters have the stability of money coming in the form of loans or a bailout.
“We’re working on it. We are working on it. We’re looking at what’s been happening in China. In the provinces that were least affected, they’re starting to open their theaters, and they’re open for free to patrons to coax them back. The movies they’re showing are older ones. We will see… It’s going to depend. We’re both local and national markets, and our main distribution partners are very interested in national releases as opposed to local ones, so depending on how this virus goes, and whether it’s more severe in some places and lifts sooner or later, that’s all going to go into it. We’re looking at ways to reach out to our patrons and also to our studio partners about the best ways to message and roll things out once we’re back up and running.”
It’s not a bad way to get back into business. By slowly getting moviegoers back in the seats, they can gear them up for big new releases as we try to get back to normal once this thing ends. One of the biggest concerns for movie theaters during this pandemic is the likelihood of viewing habits changing for potential consumers as they turn to streaming platforms as their main source of viewing content. The movie theater chains have to think of ways to make it worth it for moviegoers to want to visit the cinema again. Although I think most of us will flock back just to get the full theatrical experience again, this extra push could convince those who are undecided,
Movie theaters across the country will face the monumental task of bringing audiences back in when this situation reaches its conclusion. Slashing prices is a good start as I don’t want to see this form of entertainment die. Patrick Corcoran suggested that theaters will go bankrupt without government help so I’m hoping they do their part as I’m prepared to do my part by going to the movies when it’s ready once again.
Will YOU feel uneasy about going back to the movies? Will YOU see free releases of older titles?