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Grab your popcorn and get ready to watch Vin Diesel in a Pontiac GTO get catapulted into space … in glorious IMAX quality.
Regal, Cinemark, and AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest movie theater chain, have all announced on Friday that they will no longer require viewers to wear a mask during their visit. Current mandates instruct visitors to wear a mask at all times in the theater. Masks have only been permitted to be removed during consumption of food.
Regal Cinemas posted the following announcement on their website regarding the updated regulations: “With rapid improvements in COVID-19 case rates, increasingly widespread vaccinations, and recent CDC guidance that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or socially distance, the movie theatre industry will continue to meet or exceed state and local public health guidelines … ”
Strong box office numbers after the release of recent titles such as Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, and Wrath of Man have suggested a pent-up desire for Americans to return to the theaters, even at limited capacity.
While online movie streams skyrocketed as everyone was required to stay home during the pandemic, the communal experience of watching a theater among fellow fans was certainly one of the most talked about losses during COVID’s lockdowns in March 2020.
According to a survey conducted by Fandango, 83% of movie-goers say that they are comfortable with returning to the cinemas. AMC and the rest of theaters in American have retained their social distancing and limited capacity mandates. With 97% of theaters open at roughly half of capacity available, the Summer and Fall seasons are projected to be a boom for AMC and other theaters.
Movie theaters first announced a return to operations at limited capacities in June 2020, with all states now having approved reopening of theaters based on the confidence behind improved ventilation and safe distancing allowed in the larger venues.
In a bit of additional good news for AMC, the stock price has seen a 130% rise in the past week as a favorite target among the Reddit crowds, the same people responsible for GameStop’s $350+ stock price in January.
Hollywood’s latest big name project, A Quiet Place 2, will be released in theaters this Memorial Day weekend — with a projected opening weekend total of $51 million for a new COVID box office record.