Probably the only thing more logistically complicated than closing every theater in America due to the coronavirus is figuring out when and how the heck to re-open them again. Even if the numbers start to trend positively, there’s the question of how long it’ll take for the public to feel okay with sitting next to a crowd of strangers again. For Cinemark, the third-largest chain in the United States, the very optimistic answer is just below three months from right now. During a conference call [via Slashfilm], the extremely aptly-named CFO and COO Sean Gamble told investors that Cinemark hopes to “ramp up” starting July 1.
Per the call, the theater chain would adopt a “dip our toe approach” with two weeks of “high profile library content”—which basically means they’ll be showing older movies with all of Hollywood shut down right now—with the ultimate goal of reaching Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet, which Warner Bros. miraculously still has scheduled to hit theaters on July 17.
Of course, we are living in The Time of COVID and three months feels like an eternity lined with nothing but question marks. Barely anybody knows what’s going to happen in the next five minutes, much less between now and July 1. But Gamble did note that Cinemark can be profitable at “20% to 30%” capacity, so there would still be social distancing measures in place. Theaters would also open on a “state by state, county by county” basis, depending on local measures.
But even then, are you going to head to a theater on July 1? That’s a big ask right now, but again, everything is so freaking up in the air it’s impossible to say. Long story short: Save us, Christopher Nolan. You might actually be our only hope.