Nearly Half of US Movie Theaters Will Be Open This Weekend Even Without New York, California

Industry’s reopening plans move forward despite pandemic and hurricane closures

While Hurricane Laura and the ever-present threat of COVID-19 loom over the movie theater industry, plans are moving forward for the second weekend of nationwide cinema reopenings as nearly half of the United States’ 5,800 theaters are expected to be back in business.

Due to a variety of factors — ranging from financial issues to closures forced by Hurricane Laura in states like Louisiana and Texas — the exact number of reopened theaters won’t be known until Friday evening at the earliest. But at least 2,500 theaters are expected to be open as 20th Century/Marvel’s “The New Mutants” is planning to open at 2,412 locations. That will make the long-delayed “X-Men” horror film the widest release in theaters this weekend. “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” which is being released both on-demand and in theaters this weekend, will only be released at approximately 1,000 movie theaters as nationwide chains have declined to screen it.

By next weekend, when Warner Bros. will release Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” at least 3,000 movie theaters are expected to be back in operation as owners and distributors alike hope that the sci-fi thriller will provide a boost to the box office after five months of closures. The three major national chains — AMC, Cinemark and Regal — plan to have all their theaters in states allowing reopenings to be back online by then. But six U.S. states — including major markets California and New York — have still not given any indication on when their theaters can reopen. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has promised a business reopening plan by the end of the week.

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • • Twitter: @jeremyfuster