NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Movie theaters face challenges in 2021

There has been a progressive decline in moviegoers over the past years, causing small theaters to disappear rapidly. The most recent in the Haverhill vicinity is Cinemagic, which announced its permanent closing in February. “I miss going to the movies, it is deeply saddening that the smaller chains are closing.” said Owen Devlin, a student at NECC.

COVID-19 has only added to theaters dwindling away. Because of the social distancing guidelines, it has forced theaters to open at smaller capacities, causing companies like WarnerBros to lose money on its film. They tried releasing the film Tenet during the pandemic and lost millions on the project. This caused many companies to take a new direction and try to revamp the way they release films. In December, WarnerBros announced they would be releasing all of their feature films during 2021 on HBOmax.

However, this came as a surprise to many of their movie exhibitors, who received notice only an hour before they made their announcement. AMC was incredibly disappointed and lost 14 points of stock the day of WarnerBros statement. However, many feel that it was the right decision given the circumstances, and some are even excited for what this means for the future of movie watching.

“I had no problem with Warner Bros.’s decision. I felt that it was a way to keep people safe as well as still providing a means of entertainment through the safety of their homes.” explained Karen Stokes, another student at NECC. It also offers many a choice in how they choose to watch movies.

Many feel excited about the prospect of watching a new film from the comfort of their own home. “I think it’s awesome that they’re incorporating the choice to stay home and enjoy a new movie.” said Waynlyn Otero.

It leads the way forwards into reshaping how people watch movies. With more options, it gives the consumers more flexibility. One student explained how it would be interesting to see some movies in theaters and others available at home.

“It all depends on the caliber of the film at hand; If it’s something like a Marvel movie or A Quiet Place, most people would probably want to see it on the big screen and share the experience with others. If it’s something like The Kissing Booth or The Snyder Cut of Justice League, most people would be ok streaming them instead. If you look closely, you can sometimes tell which films best fit the format they’re presented on,” said Leo Wellock.

This idea is quite interesting. It is without a doubt that the fans of huge films who can hardly stand their excitement for a release still love the magic of going to a theater. But there are many, especially families, who would love to sit down in their living room together and snuggle up on the couch.