The next movie theater you walk into may be run by Cinemark.
While AMC Theatres fights to avoid filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and other national chains have remained quiet, Cinemark Theathres had announced a tentative plan to re-open their multiplexes on July 1, 2020.
Speaking to investors via conference call, Cinemark CFO Sean Gamble and CEO Mark Zoradi laid out their strategy to “ramp up” business operations, one that could platform over a one-to-three month period depending on conditions mandated by the still-fluid Coronavirus pandemic.
After employees report back to work in mid-June, the theater chain hopes to begin opening movie houses in July on a “state by state, county by county” basis, or on whatever scale that conditions at the time will safely allow.
Capacity will also be limited per social distancing protocols, but Gamble says that profitability can be achieved “on occupancy levels of 20% to 30%.”
With no new releases scheduled for the first half of July, Cinemark plans to start with two weeks of screening “high profile library product.” They didn’t provide names or titles of films that they hope to book, nor did they give any range of how far back into the cinematic library they plan to go.
The first major new release is planned for July 17 when Warner Bros. is scheduled to open Christopher Nolan‘s sci-fi thriller Tenet. Next to follow will be Walt Disney’s Mulan on July 24, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run on July 31.
August titles include Mark Wahlberg‘s Infinite on August 7, Warner Bros. Wonder Woman 1984 on August 14, and Bill & Ted Face the Music on August 21. The fall season will be kicked off by A Quiet Place Part II on September 4.
Emphasizing that safety for both audiences and employees remains their top priority, Gamble and Zoradi said that these plans could shift and change as needed. Studios sticking to these current release dates (or not) will also be a mitigating factor.
Assuming that Cinemark will be able to implement this strategy, I for one am actually looking forward to what kind of nostalgic big screen experiences those first two weeks of July could offer. What a great way to get back into movie theaters: watching classic summer blockbuster favorites in better premier venues than they’ve likely ever played before.