The Death of Movie Theatres

2020-03-20T213322Z_1_LYNXMPEG2J2EX_RTROPTP_3_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-THEATERSThere was a great article in the New York Times on May 15 entitled “Movie Theatres
Face Ruin.” The writer, James B. Stewart, pointed out several things that should scare all movie fans.

He starts with the observation that Universal Pictures made the animated sequel Trolls World Tour available as a digital rental for $19.95 on April 10. Since then it has made over $100 Million, and that has serious implications for movie chains like AMC, Regal and Landmark.

On top of that, while the theatres have made a bundle off Disney’s science fiction blockbusters, Walt’s descendants are releasing its highly anticipated Hamilton film on Disney Plus Streaming service July 3. Even the Motion Picture Academy has dropped the requirement that films must first be released to theatres to be eligible for an OSCAR.

While Mr. Stewart points out that theatres are fighting to stay relevant, he ends with this quote from an entertainment analyst, “They’ve been fighting an uphill and losing battle for 30 to 40 years.”

Despite my love of films on the big screen, I’m worried. The excitement I experienced seeing my first films as a kid at the Gibson Theatre in Batesville, Indiana, have left a lovable scar that will never fade. I also became fascinated with drive-in theatres even though nearly all of them have faded away.

As I sit confined at home, I couldn’t help but relate to a young girl and her family in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). While the Nazis are not out to destroy me, the coronavirus is. As I watched this wonderful film the other day, I felt close to these two Jewish families as they remained confined in a large attic for over two years in Holland.

When the film ended, I couldn’t help but look in the mirror and say, “Stop griping, Bobby!” While I recognize that the virus is likely to infect dark movie theatres, I want to root for the Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie set to open soon on Indy’s near east side. It will be Indie-film lovers’ chance to experience downtown Indianapolis’ first Art House Cinema.

I root for the talented curators Daniel Arthur Jacobson and Louise Henderson who have been waiting to crank open their marvelous creation. Keep all eyes on it as it will be my first destination when theatres are permitted to open.

Good grief, I’ll wear a mask, so this virus can go to hell and stay there.

Here’s hoping all of you are safe and well.