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Movie Theater Attendance Hit A 40-Year Low This Weekend Due To Coronavirus Fears

By Lynne Versluys

A Disastrous Weekend At The Box Office

Giphy | Walt Disney Studios

In a very unsurprising turn of events considering everything that is going on in the world right now, movie theaters took quite a hit this weekend. Attendance hit a 40 year low and the box office numbers were the lowest they've been in more than two decades, earning only $55.3 million from Friday to Sunday.

According to Variety, "box office numbers have not been this low since the Sept. 15 to 17 weekend in 2000, when movie theaters brought in $54.5 million from holdovers including Keanu Reeves’ psychological thriller The Watcher, Bait with Jamie Foxx and cheerleading classic Bring It On."

What's To Come

Giphy | A Quiet Place Part II

Box office numbers dropped 45% from last weekend, with Pixar's Onward the only film to break $10 million ($10.5 million to be exact, dropping 73% from its opening weekend). Christian film I Still Believe came in third with $9.5 million, and Vin Diesel's ultra-violent Bloodshot came in a measly third with $9.3 million.

With coronavirus prompting the delays of major blockbusters like A Quiet Place: Part 2, Mulan, Fast 9, and James Bond's No Time To Die, Hollywood is in a major freewill. Add on all of the delayed filming of Netflix and Disney+ shows (to name a few), and the industry is facing unprecedented financial losses.

How Movie Theaters Are Coping

Unsplash | Krists Luhaers

Despite these massive losses, most in Hollywood are still relatively optimistic. Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, told Variety:

"These are unique circumstances. But without a doubt, we will get to the other side. The domestic box office will be back, just nobody has a real answer as to when."

Movie theaters are taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their patrons and their employees, but as the pandemic in the United States starts to escalate, many wonder if theaters will follow the example of theme parks, Broadway, and many major festivals and close their doors for the time being.

Will They Close Completely?

Unsplash | Felix Mooneeram

Major theater chains like AMC and Regal Cinemasare escalating their cleaning protocol and cutting their seating capacity in half per the CDC's guidelines for social distancing.

Regal released a statement to Deadline on Friday, saying that they are "complying, where applicable, with state mandates on social gathering limits. The health and safety of our customers and staff is very important to us. We are continuing to follow and monitor official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health organizations."

Folks, now is the time to just stay home and watch Frozen II.

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