The Top 10 States Having The Most Movie Theaters Opened vs. Unopened

26 days. Remember that number.

With the third delay of Tenet and push back to staggered release August and September, China limiting run times to maximum of two hours and the ensuing fallout, it still isn’t a guarantee the theaters will start reopening August 21 as currently planned.

(am hopeful that when and where it is safe to reopen, they do)

The biggest blow that predated the Tenet delay decision came from California, going backwards on their phased rollouts, preventing movie theaters in particular from reopening. Washington state, the first place to have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in January 2020, and the state where we reside, is currently facing a resurgence of the virus.

The 10 states with the most theater locations are in the Comscore graph pictured above.

Currently, less than 17% of the 5,440 movie theater locations in the U.S. are open, according to data from Comscore. However, that number could change if more states rollback reopening plans amid growing numbers of Covid-19 cases.

These charts show why studios are likely to delay ‘Tenet’ and ‘Mulan’

The article seemed prophetic in light of the Tenet news, followed by a wave of other delays (see: Delayathon 2020 Continues – Avatar pushed back to 2022, Mulan, AMC theaters, Bill and Ted Face The Music, Top Gun: Maverick and more!)

The big three theater chains are saying they will have an estimated 80% of the theaters reopened by September 4, but as the graph shows, that will require a significant number of reopenings across many states.

At least in Washington State where we currently reside, it seems full steam ahead for an August 21 reopening by Regal Cinemas (see: When Regal Cinemas Reopen “Temporarily” No FREE Refills for Large Popcorn and Soda). Check out their current website title graphic:

Regal promoting their “Reopening Guidelines” for currently scheduled August 21, 2020

Do you think the projected amount of theaters (80%+) in the United States will be reopened in 26 days (the number mentioned at the beginning of this post)? I’m hopeful this happens — assuming it is safe in the areas where reopening — but skeptical.

What’s different this time than the previous delays is how active at least Regal is being about promoting their reopening.

Movie theaters are different from other recreational or social gatherings, the cinema CEO said.

“The cinema sounds like a place with a lot of people and a lot of issues there, but at the end of the day, most of the time that someone is in the cinema, he is in his own seat, he’s not walking around,” he continued. “It’s not a wedding, it’s not a party, it’s not a restaurant. And everyone is facing one direction. And people, usually, while seeing a movie are not singing or talking. They’re watching the movie. We have dedicated points when we enter and go out and we will stagger the showtimes.”

Cineworld CEO says Regal movie theaters is gearing up for Aug. 21 reopening

If moviegoers feel safe enough to return once the theaters open is another big IF. We’ve asked this question already (see: After The Coronavirus Ends, 49% Poll Respondents Say They Won’t Immediately Return to Movie Theaters, “possibly never”), but with every proposed reopening of theaters the issue is raised anew.

When moviegoers feel comfortable it is safe is an individual choice depending on multiple factors. We’ve been going out in our area to public places like casinos for a couple months now, so we’ll be going back as soon as they reopen. Some readers have commented that they don’t intend to return right away, taking a wait and see approach. There is no wrong answer to the question about when it feels right for moviegoers to return.

Will 80% of theaters reopen by September 4? We’ll find out soon.

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