Movie Theater Owners Again Pleading With New York City Officials to Reopen

Published on November 9, 2020

The National Theater Associations of New York is once again pleading with Governor Andrew Cuomo to reopen their theaters in the state. At the very least, theater owners want their properties open in Manhattan to stay afloat during the holiday season. Since theaters in New York and Los Angeles have remained closed during the pandemic, studios have been avoiding releasing major titles in theaters

Many theaters have reopened across the state of New York, but not in Manhattan. NATO NY argues theaters are safe. “After Disney pulled their two movies, we are trying to do whatever we can to save the Christmas release schedule,” wrote Joe Masher, who’s the president of NATO NY. Last week, Disney pulled two of their last major titles of the year off the schedule, the sequel to Murder on the Orient Express and the Ryan Reynolds-led Free Guys

Wonder Woman 1984 is the only possible major film to come out around the holidays. According to the NATO NY president, he doesn’t see the sequel coming out if New York City theaters remain closed. There are rumors of Warner Bros., once again, delaying the Wonder Woman sequel. 

Governor Cuomo approved several theaters for reopening last month. However, Cuomo kept New York City theaters closed due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, especially in Brooklyn and Queens. During Cuomo’s most recent briefing about the coronavirus, he didn’t mention movie theaters. 

The NATIO NY and other groups have been asking Cuomo to consider reopening theaters in the city for a while now. Most recently, the Global Cinema Federation, which represents AMC, Cinemark, and Cineplex, published an open letter to the governor. “We recognize your commitment to ensuring that the citizens of New York remain safe and protected from COVID-19,” the letter read. “With certain zip codes in New York seeing spikes of the virus, we are, of course, not suggesting that you open the entire state at once. We are, however, requesting that you adopt a plan similar to that in California, where Governor Newsom has allowed openings on a county-by-county basis according to virus data.”

Major movies won’t come out until New York City and Los Angeles reopen theaters. “Without new movies to play in our cinemas, many members of the global exhibition community will be forced to close their doors again,” the letter adds. “Many of these companies will not survive.” Not long after the letter was published, Cuomo started opening up some of the state’s theaters. New York City, however, remains one of the largest unopened theater markets during the pandemic. 

Cinema owners may breathe a small sigh of relief today, though. There’s news of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is 90% effective. According to experts, the vaccine will go to first responders and millions more before the end of the year. Next year, the vaccine should reach billions around the world, allowing movie theaters and most likely other major entertainment venues to reopen safely. 

Following the news of the vaccine, AMC and other major theater chains saw their stock rise. The stock market saw huge spikes today across a long list of industries struggling during the pandemic. The coronavirus numbers keep rising, but with news of a vaccine, movie theater owners and the rest of the world are finally hearing some good news.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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