Theaters to test the waters with retro blockbuster screenings

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Do you have any interest in watching classic films on the big screen?

By Shawn Knight

The big picture: As Coronavirus lockdown orders start to relax in some regions, the conversation is naturally turning to how we can get back to some semblance of normalcy. The path for movie theaters to resume operations, however, is a bit more complex than it is for other businesses.

In addition to coercing reluctant moviegoers back to the box office, operators will have to grapple with the dilemma of what exactly to show on their screens.

Many major studios have halted filming and postponed the release of major motion pictures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. You’d think this might create a log jam of movies that Hollywood would be ready to show at the first opportunity but apparently that isn’t the case.

Instead, exhibitors are reportedly being offered classic films like Jaws, Back to the Future and even Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho at discounted prices, perhaps as little as $2 to $5 per ticket. After all, most theaters make their money through overpriced concessions.

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The idea, it seems, is to gauge consumers’ willingness to visit theaters as Coronavirus concerns linger. By screening classic films, Hollywood can get an idea of attendance without risking a big-budget failure. Granted, not everyone is going to rush out and fork over money to see something that is readily available on streaming platforms. Then again, some will no doubt attend simply to get out of the house while others could view it as a rare opportunity to take in a favorite on the big screen.

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