TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It’s a tradition for a lot folks—heading to the movies Christmas night, but it looks a bit different, as many things do in 2020.
Heading to the movies still includes that big bucket of popcorn, but it looks a bit different at Cinemark theaters—staggered showtimes, extra space between movie-goers, mandatory face masks and enhanced cleanings. One Tucson movie-goer said it’s usually a family tradition to head to the movies on Christmas night, but this year they aren’t so sure.
“That’s why we wanted to do it. I’m here with my family,” she said. “We thought, ‘Well maybe there’s not too many people coming today,’ so we’re just trying to check and see what is the least populated theater, taking a calculated risk… I want to find out if we can truly safely distance, and if we can, then we’ll watch our Wonder Woman movie, absolutely.”
Several movies were supposed to be released this year like the long-awaited Avatar and a slew of others. But what was guaranteed to be a box office hit—Wonder Woman 1984 is still hitting theaters Christmas day.
“We’re going to see Wonder Woman 1984!” said a pair of young movie goers.
Wonder Woman is also heading straight to the homes of millions of Americans on the same day it’s released in theaters—on HBO MAX. It’s a new trend that could hit box offices in the gut. Warner Bros announcing it will release all its 2021 movies simultaneously in theaters and on HBO max.
COVID has not been kind to theaters already struggling. The state health department released Thursday, that all of Arizona is in substantial spread. ADHS currently requires theaters have to be at 50% capacity, after just reopening a few months ago. The department also puts going to a theater as a high-risk activity for catching, or spreading, COVID-19.
Cinemark said they are committed to extensive cleaning and mitigation measures.
Governor Doug Ducey and ADHS have said there will not be any more closures of business as they focus on “other mitigation measures.” A recent report shows more than 92,000 Americans work in the $7 billion dollar movie theater industry in 2020, but that’s nearly a 40 percent decline in recent years. This, as unemployment around the nation has hit highs.
If you want to head to the movies, but want your space, Harkins and Cinemark both offer private watch parties and events.