Movie Theaters Starting to Welcome Back Crowds


With COVID-19 rates decreasing, people have been going back to movie theaters. Cinepolis is a favorite theater among students because of the high-end experience it offers, including the opportunity to order food directly from your seats. Of note, too, is that the area’s other major movie theater changed ownership recently. The Cobb theatres at Downtown at the Gardens was taken over by the regional theater chain, CMX Cinemas. The new owners are working hard to upgrade the theaters, with half of the cinemas currently closed because they are under renovation. Nonetheless, with their continuance of $5 Tuesdays and other special pricing levels, the theater continues to draw crowds.

Charlie Spungin, Editor-in-Chief

The movie theater industry saw an incredible decline following the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly all theaters shut down amid various studios delaying their films so that they could get an audience and earn profit for their films. The re-opening process for cinemas was slow, but they are steadily getting their business back.

When the pandemic originally broke out in Palm Beach County in March 2020, Cinépolis closed its local Jupiter theater. They remained closed until August of that same year, and upon reopening, business was slower with people still having the fear of contracting the virus and with multiple movies being delayed, according to Cinépolis manager Karalynn Baker. Once studios stopped delaying their films, business began to return to the theater.

“Once the studios started to release the movies, a lot of people started coming. We’re picking back up again,” Baker said.

Cinépolis refers to itself as a “restaurant that shows movies,” per Baker. As a result, when it opened its doors once more in Aug. 2020, masks were not required for the moviegoers so that they could eat their food. However, social distancing was practiced with spaces in between seats for the next 13 months until the policy’s practice was ultimately halted in Sep. 2021. To this day, employees are still required to wear masks.

According to Baker, the omicron variant’s surge in late Dec. 2021 and early Jan. 2022 did not impact business. The theater still saw success, partially credited to the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Over the Dec. 17-19, 2021 weekend, Spider-Man: No Way Home made its theatrical debut, grossing $260M domestically. This was the highest-grossing domestic opening weekend since the pandemic. As of Feb. 3, Spider-Man: No Way Home grossed $1.7B worldwide and $739M domestically.

Throughout the pandemic, Marvel dominated the box office. In 2021, the top four grossing domestic films were all Marvel movies. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Black Widow trailed Spider-Man: No Way Home.

One effect of the pandemic on the movie theater industry is that studios have been releasing their films on various platforms like HBO Max or Disney+ in addition to offering the in-theater experience. Black Widow released both in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access in July 2021. However, some prefer the movie-going experience compared to the release on streaming services.

“I prefer watching movies in the movie theater rather than online streaming services because the movie theater has a unique atmosphere where you feel like there’s a bunch of people bonded together for having a passion for the movie,” junior Darian Salehi said. “In Spider-Man: No Way Home, you can tell everyone was super excited about it, and everyone went crazy when Andrew [Garfield] showed up.”

It seems as if cinemas are slowly returning to the lives of many, as both the moviegoers and theaters seem to be excited for the industry’s resurgence following nearly two years.