New Study Suggests Half of Americans Plan on Avoiding Movie Theaters Once Reopened

Theaters are reopening far and wide and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. In fact, the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) anticipates over 90-percent of theaters across the country being reopened by the time Christopher Nolan's Tenet hits theaters in late July. Despite a sense of urgency from exhibitors, one new study suggests even though theaters are reopening, upwards of half of all Americans plan to avoid theaters even when reopened.

The study, conducted by the pollsters at OnePoll on behalf of Self Financial, says 49-percent of Americans plan to be wary of movie theaters, the second-highest industry on the study. Finishing first was public transportation (52-percent) while bars and restaurants (47-percent), personal care establishments (40-percent), and grocery stores (36-percent) round out the top five.

A large part of the hesitation likely stemmed from the reluctance from major chains like AMC Theatres and Cinemark in implementing a mask requirement for movie-goers. Eventually, both chains walked back their stance after smaller outfits like Regal and Alamo Drafthouse revealed plans for mask requirements for both consumers and workers alike.

"This announcement prompted an intense and immediate outcry from our customers, and it is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks. At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests," a statement released by AMC said after major fan backlash. "Accordingly, and with the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy. As we reopen theatres, we now will require that all AMC guests nationwide wear masks as they enter and enjoy movies at our theatres. The speed with which AMC moved to revise our mask policies is a reflection of our commitment to the safety and health of our guests."

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It added, "We will constantly monitor the scientific community’s latest thinking as to the efficacy of mask usage. We also will be looking at the varying health conditions in specific localities around our theatres all across the country. This will help us to determine what our mask policy will be as we go forward, as well as to make any other needed changes to this policy."

When do you plan on getting back to the movie theater? Think it over and let us know your thoughts in the comments section!