The National Association of Theater Owners (otherwise known as NATO) has sent out a press release in response to many movies being taken of their release dates and the majority of theaters having to shut down due to the growing Coronavirus issue. The full press release can be read here
, but here are some important things that were mentioned in it.
To start things off, NATO made it clear that these shutdowns are in response to the safety of the public:
With the pandemic Coronavirus outbreak, the world is facing a difficult and trying time. As the virus takes hold in different regions at different times and in varying degrees of severity, people and public health officials are grappling with decisions about when to close public-facing businesses and when to restrict personal activity. As with other businesses that serve large groups of people, movie theaters have faced voluntary and mandated restrictions and closures. The majority of movie theaters have now closed. This industry will continue to meet its responsibilities to the public and will abide by public health mandates and adapt to local conditions.
It proceeds to mention that distributors have postponed major upcoming releases due to the virus and that other titles in the near future have not been changed yet.
The press release continues by responding to the growing speculation of the closing of theaters leading to shorter or exclusive releases of theatrical titles:
Although there has been speculation in the media that the temporary closure of theaters will lead to accelerated or exclusive releases of theatrical titles to home streaming, such speculation ignores the underlying financial logic of studio investment in theatrical titles. To avoid catastrophic losses to the studios, these titles must have the fullest possible theatrical release around the world. While one or two releases may forgo theatrical release, it is our understanding from discussions with distributors that the vast majority of deferred releases will be rescheduled for theatrical release as life returns to normal.
It goes on to point out that once this threat has subsided, the postponed movies will come back to having theatrical releases and give an even bigger slate for the remainder of the year.
The press release ends by noting that in time, everything will eventually return to normal. They also make a point that when it happens, people will come back to theaters because recreating that experience is near impossible. Although while waiting for things to go back to normal, there will be setbacks for theaters and their employees. Hopefully, these setbacks won't hurt their business too badly and will become successful once again.
While movie theaters will suffer some financial harm in the near term, and many of their 150,000 employees will face personal hardship, when this crisis passes and people return to their hard-wired social nature, movie theaters will be there for them as they have always been, with a full slate of movies far into the future.
I am happy that NATO sent this release out because theater owners needed someone to show them the light at the end of the tunnel. It is understandable that certain measures now have to be taken to ensure the safety of the public, and we hope that your theater will get to reopen in the near future. We look forward to the day where theaters can reopen their doors because the one thing that can bring people together at a time like this is the theater experience and a good movie.