With the movie that was supposed to bring theaters back to life now removed from the release schedule and sitting on a shelf, theater chains are finally starting to follow suit and delay their reopening dates. Regal Cinemas revealed on Wednesday that its US locations would no longer be opening on July 31st, as previously intended, and that a new reopening date would be revealed later. Now, just a day later, AMC Theatres is pushing its reopening back as well.
AMC announced on Thursday that its target date for reopening has shifted from the end of July to sometime in mid to late August. A specific date has yet to be announced, which is probably for the best at this point. The situation surrounding coronavirus is constantly changing, and there's no telling when the numbers will indicate a safe reopening.
Both AMC and Regal seem to be following the path laid down by Warner Bros. and Tenet, which is to simply wait and see what happens while being prepared to strike at any moment. Christopher Nolan and WB seemed set on making Tenet the movie that brings theaters back to life. That can still be the case, but the studio and the theater chains will have to wait a little longer to make something happen.
Since the onset of the pandemic earlier this year, AMC has essentially been operating without any revenue, furloughing most of its staff and doing what it can to stay above water until it's able to reopen theaters. Unfortunately, with the number of cases still spiking around the country, there's still no way to safely open theaters in certain states or locations. Los Angeles remains one of the areas hit hardest by the pandemic, which is a major challenge when it comes to releasing movies, seeing as how it represents the single biggest film market in the country.
It looks like studios and theater chains are now looking at August or September as the restart to the film season, though that could still change as time goes on. We're all just going to have to play this one by ear.