Jeff Babcock is a fourth-year student majoring in communications and minoring in journalism. Jb884128@wcupa.edu
Many days have gone by this past year as the entertainment industry continues to suffer, gutted of one of its main sources of income: movie theater screenings. 2020, the “Year of COVID-19,” as we may all call it, saw drastic drops in movie theater screenings and total box office revenue as most, if not all, theatres were either closed due to lockdown or shuttered permanently. Just this past October, the movie theater industry saw a big chain of theaters, Regal Cinemas, go dark, shuttering all of their 536 locations as of last fall; who knows how many more are to follow. With movies such as Marvel Studios’ blockbusters like “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness,” “Black Widow” and the James Bond Franchise’s “No Time to Die” all experiencing massive delays stretching to nearly a year from their original release, movie theaters across the nation, and across the globe, are looking for some sort of financial relief as towns and cities across the country begin to fully reopen. On the more local side of things, theaters such as the AMC Dine-In at Painter’s Crossing right here in West Chester, PA, are indeed open! However, masks are required to go into the theater, and in AMC’s case, all theatres have masks available for purchase for just $1.
Many movie theaters across this region, as well as across the United States, have opened with such procedures, trying to make the movie watching experience as memorable as it was in the pre-COVID era. With proper cleaning procedures and socially-distanced seating, theaters are trying their best to recover as movies return to the big screen once again. Local theaters such as the AMC at Painter’s Crossing are starting to open up again, hoping to see new and familiar faces after a long time in the dark. As you get your COVID-19 vaccines as well, many movie theaters across the country are offering promotions such as free large popcorn or other amenities if you show up with your vaccination card, and it certainly does its worth justice! It seems like ages ago that many of us went to a movie theater on a weekend with our friends and family. However, just because they’ve been gone for so long doesn’t mean that they are gone forever. Check your local movie theaters and see if they too are open because you never know unless you look online. The more that we see places re-open across the Delaware Valley and the whole of the United States, the more that I feel like many of us have grown to appreciate the lost art that was going to see a movie — not to stream it on a device or our television at home. The experience of going to a theater with many others and getting popcorn, a fountain drink or other concessions is returning, and it all depends on us, the consumers, to bring such back to life. Cinemas may not be as important to all, but to the actors who play on the screen, they mean the most. Actor Terrance Mann once said, “Movies will make you famous, television will make you rich, but theater will make you good.”