Bloomberg has a very good analysis of those small-town cinemas in the United States that closed due to COVID but never reopened following the pandemic. Of the 5,500 US theatres in operation in 2019, around 12% or 630 remain shuttered, many to never reopen again. Some of these venues are the only big screen offering for many miles around.
Theatre closures aren’t only occurring in small-town USA, but in major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, where many of the sites that Pacific Theatres abandoned earlier this year have not reopened. As well, Pasadena just approved a plan to transform the recently closed Laemmle Theatre’s Playhouse 7 building into a multi-tenant commercial building… without a movie theater.
Yet there are also operators re-opening and even investing to upgrade amenities, showing that there is still belief in the future of the cinema medium. “Certain things in life are timeless and the theater experience, which is accessible to absolutely everyone, is one of them,” Canadian cinema operator Vincenzo Guzzo recently wrote.