New Survey Explains What It Will Take for Audiences to Return to Movie Theaters

Though some states have already started to reopen their movie theaters in the wake of an ongoing global pandemic, a new study suggests more security policies will need to fall into place before the masses head back out for movie night. In a new study obtained by Deadline, upwards of 75-percent of respondents said they were likely to return to theaters they once reopened should theaters follow popular security protocols. Around 12-percent of the respondents said they were unlikely to return regardless while the remaining 13-percent of those partaking in the study were unsure of their plans at this point in time.

Of those who said they'd return to theaters, nearly the entire group said having hand sanitizer stations throughout the theater would make them feel more comfortable in their return to the movies. Nearly 80-percent of the "likely-to-return" batch were on board with theater chains limiting showtimes to allow for more thorough cleanings between showings while an additional 75-percent expressed desires for theater staff to wear facemasks.

Interestingly enough, more than half of the positive respondents said they'd be alright with getting their temperature taken before entering the theater in an attempt to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Just 5-percent of positive respondents said no new security measures were necessary to influence their return to cinemas.

As theaters get closer to reopening on a wider scale, a standoff of sorts continues between a few Hollywood studios and the box office. The controversy originated with Universal and its handling of Trolls World Tour, which made a reported $100 million in its first week going straight to VOD compared to a theatrical release. After the success of the digital release, Universal didn't rule out future movies following a similar path, a move that upset the movers and shakers at AMC Theatres.

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AMC quickly imposed a blackout on movies from Universal, saying the policy "affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theaters reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat. Incidentally, this policy is not aimed solely at Universal out of pique or to be punitive in any way, it also extends to any movie maker who unilaterally abandons current windowing practices absent good faith negotiations between us, so that they as distributor and we as exhibitor both benefit and neither are hurt from such changes. Currently, with the press comment today, Universal is the only studio contemplating a wholesale change to the status quo. Hence, this immediate communication in response."

Cover photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images