NATO On Early State Reopenings: “New Wide Release Movies Are Unlikely To Be Available”

The National Association of Theatre Owners is continuing its work advocating for cinemas during the COVID-19 pandemic. In their latest statement, the association responds to several states’ plans to open theaters as early as next week.

The White House’s plan to open the economy includes theaters under “Phase One,” meaning they would be allowed to open after the area in which they operate in satisfies three qualifying criteria. In the days since the White House released its plan, Georgia governor Brian Kemp has stated that movie theaters in his state could be allowed to open as early as next Monday, April 27 if they adhere to “specific social distancing and sanitation mandates.” Governors of Tennessee and South Carolina have also announced plans to allow non-essential businesses to reopen, though what this means for movie theaters specifically has not yet been clarified.

As states begin to move towards reopening, NATO issued the following statement:

While some states and localities are beginning to authorize the opening of movie theaters under certain conditions, the movie theater industry is also a national one. Until the majority of markets in the U.S. are open, and major markets in particular, new wide release movies are unlikely to be available.  As a result, some theaters in some areas that are authorized to open may be able economically to reopen with repertory product;  however, many theaters will not be able to feasibly open.