Movie theaters around the country have been closed for weeks now, and they'll likely remain that way for the next couple of months. However, there may be a light peeking out from the end of the tunnel, as theater owners are still eyeing a return to business this summer. According to a new report from Reuters, theater operators are aiming to reopen their doors by late July, which will still allow for some semblance of a summer movie season.
This timeline aligns with the views of most movie studios, as there are still a handful of major releases still on the schedule for late July. Warner Bros. still has Christopher Nolan's Tenet slated for release on July 17th, which somehow still feels like a longshot. Disney's live-action Mulan is on track for a release on July 24th, having been moved back from its previous date in March. Things pick up a bit in August with The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, Wonder Woman 1984, and Bill and Ted Face the Music all set to arrive in theaters.
Unfortunately, even if theaters can open again in July, there's no guarantee that they will be ready to handle the crowds that these tentpole films may bring. Theater operators are planning ahead for this very situation by looking into a transition period to get business going once again. Patrick Corcoran, spokesman for the National Association of Theatre Owners, said that theaters could start opening certain locations in parts of the country where coronavirus is receding as early as mid-June. He did go on to add that this timeline is "very tentative."
"There are two schools of thought," Corcoran continued. "People will be very tense and careful and nervous, or people will just be desperate to get out of the house. It's probably going to be a mixture."
One way of testing the waters is for theaters to show some older, more popular films before any of the new releases arrive. Movies like Harry Potter, Back to the Future, Grease, or The Avengers could all be candidates for these types of events.
The hope is that theaters can be reopened without a hitch and the 2020 movies can continue in just a few months. That said, theaters in China reopened last month after being closed for some time, only to be abruptly closed again just two weeks later. At this stage, just about everything is unpredictable.