Bloomberg tallies the number of theatres across the U.S. that have yet to reopen after the pandemic. From approximately 5,500 U.S. theatres that were operating in March of 2020, 630 have yet to reopen post-pandemic, and many of those are expected to remain closed permanently.
Since the emergence of COVID in March 2020, exhibitors have been forced to cope with shutdowns and public health measures that required them to enforce social distancing, masking, and proof of vaccination. Theatres have also been impacted by Hollywood’s shifting release strategies, which wound up delaying the release of important new movies, and a wider role for streaming services when introducing new movies, either reducing or eliminating exclusive theatrical windows.
On the bright side, most exhibitors have benefitted from an infusion of funding through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, and many have used these resources to invest in upgrading their facilities, installing new screens and projection technology, luxury seating, and creating new concessions offerings. As a result, many theatres are now able to offer moviegoers a higher quality experience that may benefit their business over the long term.