Yesterday’s news of a solid vaccine was not only good news for the general public but for movie theaters as well. With so much uncertainty in the past couple months and different areas of the world going back into lockdown there was despair that movie theaters would have to close down permanently. But the good news yesterday seemed to bring life into an almost dead industry.
Phizer Inc. came out with a surprising announcement that its Covid-19 vaccine is possibly 90 percent effective. The news sent top health and government officials to speculate when the vaccine might be readily available so life can go back to normal. Current predictions have the general population going back to normal around March/April which would be phenomenal for the movie theater industry.
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Imax CEO Richard Gelfond spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and had this to say about the announcement. “Pfizer said it is a game changer in terms of public health issues. And I think the vaccine is a game changer in terms of the movie industry. No one had a time frame before. The announcement puts bookends on in,”
Gelfond’s statement was a sense of relief and echoed by other studios, the stock market also reflected the good news with positive gains throughout the day. The news of a potential vaccine was what the movie industry was waiting for. With studios pushing their releases back into 2021 there was some uncertainty that theaters would still be closed in 2021.
Out of all the industries affected by Covid-19 the entertainment industry has been hit the hardest. Layoffs in all aspects of the entertainment industry like movie, television, music, performing arts, and park entertainments have been massive this year. There have been a lot of people who want to go back to the movies or concerts but until there is a vaccine they haven’t felt safe.
With the potential of more vaccine’s being available next year theaters now have a basic idea of when they can operate closer to full capacity. While some theaters have reopened they have only been operating at 50 percent or less capacity which is not profitable. With most major tentpole films scheduled for next year this will give theaters time to game plan the full reopening of their individual theaters.
There is also still hope that Congress will provide relief to cinemas in the next months to cushion the losses until the vaccine is readily available.