In an interview this week, Josh Boone, the director of The New Mutants, opening next weekend, told Heroic Hollywood that he “people should be going to the movies.”
…if [people] can go to a house party with 700 people without masks on, they can put on a mask and go to a movie and maybe get their rocks off in a more productive way. But I think it brings people together, even if they’re socially distanced. And I think that as long as they’re following the rules they’re supposed to be following, it’s safer than an airplane or a restaurant.
He’s obviously in a difficult position here, as the director of the film who wants the movie to succeed (it won’t, but it wouldn’t have anyway). But also, there’s a legitimate risk in attending theaters, so much so that they’re still not open in the two largest markets in the country.
However, it appears that The New Mutants could see some brisk-ish business (for a pandemic) when it opens on the 28th. AMC theaters reopened 100 of their 600 theaters today (with more opening in the coming weeks), and according to AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. CEO Adam Aron, those theaters were “sold out” in many parts of the country.
“Welcome, America, back to the movies,” Aron celebrated. “We’re only selling 30 percent of our seats, and so we are sold out today almost all across the country.”
There’s obviously a couple of caveats here: Tickets were only $.15 as a part of a welcome-back promotion, and the bar for “selling out” is much lower, since theaters are limited to a 30 percent capacity. But it does illustrate that there are a number of moviegoers willing to risk their health (and potentially the health of their friends and family) to see older movies. They may be even more inclined to do so for a new movie like Russell Crowe’s Unhinged, opening this weekend; New Mutants on the 28th, and especially Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which opens in two weeks.
I don’t suspect too many middle-aged or older filmgoers will return to theaters in large numbers, but the box office is largely driven by younger audiences anyway, especially for movies like New Mutants. It’ll be interesting to see if Unhinged manages to drum up any ticket receipts this weekend.
Header Image Source: Disney