Theaters in New York City may open in March at 25% capacity.


A view of the Regal Loews Cinemas in Times Square in New York City.

Noam Galai | fake images

After nearly a year of closings, New York City theaters will open on March 5, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

Theaters in the city will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity, in accordance with the rules currently in effect for locations in the rest of New York State.

The movie theater announcement follows a recent series of steps the governor has made in recent weeks to reopen the state’s economy. New York City’s big stadiums like Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden are gearing up to host a limited number of fans at live basketball games starting Tuesday.

Last week, Cuomo said that indoor family entertainment centers, such as arcades, trampoline parks and laser tag facilities, could reopen starting March 26 and that outdoor amusement parks will be able to return on March 9. April with a limited capacity.

Notably, March 5 also marks the day that Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” will be available in theaters and on Disney + and Lionsgate’s “Chaos Walking” hits theaters. Later in March, Warner Bros. ‘”Godzilla v. Kong” will also make its debut.

Masks required

“Movie theaters in New York will align with the rest of the state: 25% capacity; no more than 50 people per screening; masks; assigned seating; social distancing; staff to control occupancy, traffic and seating to ensure compliance, “Cuomo said. “They need the improved standards for air filtration, ventilation and purification that DOH has specified.”

Cuomo has repeatedly said that the state has seen the end of its post-holiday coronavirus spike while simultaneously warning the emergence of highly contagious virus strains, such as the B.1.1.7 strain first identified in the Kingdom. Joined, it could derail the state’s progress and reverse its downward trend in cases.

New York reports a weekly average of 7,400 Covid-19 cases a day, a decrease of more than 13% compared to a week ago and the lowest average in the state since early December, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“Theater owners are pleased with the announcement that the safe reopening of New York City theaters will be allowed,” the National Association of Theater Owners said in a statement. “Strict voluntary health and safety protocols have made it possible for cinemas across the country to operate safely and responsibly at higher capacity limits for many months without a single COVID-19 outbreak being traced to movie theaters. “.

“New York City is a major market for film in the US; the reopening there gives film distributors confidence to set and celebrate their theatrical release dates, and is an important step in the recovery of the entire industry, “said the group, which represents more than 33,000 movie screens in the US.

A key market

New York City is a vital center for movie ticket sales. There are nearly 300 theaters in New York State, but the key geographic metric that analysts are focusing on is New York’s Designated Market Area, or DMA.

This is an area surrounding New York City that includes part of Connecticut and New Jersey and excludes theaters north of Albany and west of Cooperstown. Within this DMA are 234 movie theaters that represent 7.4% of the total national box office, according to Comscore.

That’s the second highest ticket sales driver in the US, behind only the Los Angeles DMA, which accounts for 8.9%.

New York City has above-average ticket prices and population density, which means it makes more money for the industry than other areas in the United States and Canada. That’s one of the reasons studios have wanted to push movies across the calendar and wait for New York theaters to reopen to the public.

The city also had massive advertising penetration. Movies that do well in the city create a buzz that helps sell tickets in other parts of the country.

Not to mention that New York City is symbolically important because it is one of the places where there is a high concentration of Hollywood producers, directors, and actors living in the area.

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