Students hesitant to attend reopened theaters

Screening of Tenet on September 4th – Courtesy of Matthew Schwartz

Everyone loves movies. Just last year the biggest film of all time, Avengers Endgame, broke the box office record high, bringing in almost 2.8 billion dollars. Box offices, until very recently, were bringing in record lows of 0 dollars. This is obviously due to the fact that until very recently, no theaters were operational. 

        To remedy this, certain networks that were set to release their films when the theaters were closed, so they decided to change their strategies and released their movies virtually. A great example of this is Trolls World Tour. This film was the second iteration of the first movie entitled Trolls and people were astonished that the virtual release turned out to be a good decision. 

       The only way that this was possible was the excessive advertising. Trailers, posters, and other propaganda for this film were everywhere. Because of all this, the movie brought in a whopping 100 million dollars, all this leads to the big question. Do networks really need movie theaters? 

       The movies are what keep the theaters in business, and if networks are withholding their films so that they can make all the earnings, the theaters will shut down. Despite this, many people don’t go to theaters just to see a movie. They go to buy overpriced water and popcorn. They go as an excuse to see their friends, but will people be going back in today’s current climate? COVID-19 is still prevalent and may deter people from theaters.

       Fourth Former Lucio Acchione does not intend to see a movie while COVID-19 is around, but it is not because he is worried about being infected. “During COVID I won’t go, I don’t want to wear a mask while I watch a movie.”

Acchione’s main concern is about his experience at the theater, and his concern is totally valid. Many people will not want to have to wear a mask while they sit without moving for 2 hours. Who would? Masks are not particularly comfortable. We wear them to be safe and limit the spread of the virus, but why go to a movie and wear a mask when you can just stay home and breathe freely as much as you desire.

“Under normal circumstances, I like going to the movies. They have comfy seats and big screens.” Lucio brings up the other side of the argument. Theaters offer an escape from home and let you get berated with extreme noise while you look at a huge screen. In other words, most people can’t get the same experience at home. 

“Once there is a safe widespread vaccination I will go back to theaters.”

Aidan Briddell ’23

       Fourth Former Aidan Briddell was unable to comment in person but was able to email his response. In a normal situation, one without a pandemic Briddell would go to the theater saying, “I like seeing movies in 3D.” Unfortunately for the theaters around Briddell, he went on to say “No I would not go back now, because I do not trust the staff to clean properly.”

Unlike Acchione, Briddell is more worried about the spread of the virus, and people not properly cleaning. We have no way of knowing if theaters like IMAX are wiping down every seat exactly the same meticulous and thorough way. It is very possible that employees are just giving the seats a quick once over and moving on. Briddell also stated that he has a home theater; he is one of the lucky ones. Home theaters around Haverford and the Main Line are not particularly uncommon, but only a collection of students at Haverford have one and those who do are obviously privileged. They maintain the comfy seats and the large screens that are so well known at theaters. As Briddell’s last statement he made it clear that “Yes, once there is a safe widespread vaccination I will go back to theaters,” a statement that many would agree with.

         In today’s day and age movie theaters are scary, and even before the pandemic, they were a germaphobe’s worst nightmare. It is possible that many Haverford students are avoiding movie theaters during the pandemic, if you are one of the people that decide to go, make sure that you wear a mask and take hand sanitizer.

Author: Connor Pinsk '23

Connor Pinsk joined The Index in the fall of 2019.