Movie theaters regain popularity after the COVID-19 pandemic

Movie+theaters+have+opened+up+and+are+starting+to+fill+up+with+individuals+looking+for+a+good+time%2C+such+as+the+Regal+Cinemas+Magnolia+Place+location.

Claire Piklor

Movie theaters have opened up and are starting to fill up with individuals looking for a good time, such as the Regal Cinemas Magnolia Place location.

Alison LaTorre, Writer

After a brief pause, movie theaters are officially open for business and to the public. Due to fears surrounding the contraction of COVID-19 in public places, many people chose to stay home and watch movies from the comfort of their home in hopes of staying safe.

The pandemic has put a strain on the common experiences people never thought they would be deprived of. Simple activities such as going to the grocery store or out to dinner were considered to be risky or unsafe at the beginning of the pandemic.

Among this was the closure of many movie theaters, forcing people to find other ways to enjoy movies from the comfort of their own homes. Movies released throughout the pandemic, such as Godzilla vs. Kong, Black Widow, Raya and the Last Dragon and A Quiet Place II, were all available on streaming services rather than at in-person theaters.

“​​Using streaming services brought families together by providing us with our own little movie nights or streaming service while quarantined at home,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sophomore Nina Khalouf said.

Streaming services were a huge part of quarantine and gave families a chance to spend time together eating popcorn in the safety of their living room. Platforms such as HBO Max, Peacock, Netflix, AppleTV and Hulu provided people with some sense of normalcy.

“With the pandemic I couldn’t go out to watch movies with my friends or family because of everyone’s safety, so a safer alternative was Netflix,” sophomore Priya Kalaria said. “It was also pretty fun with what Netflix had to offer with everything going on.”

After months of watching new movies from their homes, people are starting to get back to normal life by watching new movies in theaters. Experiencing a new, popular movie in the theaters gives people a sense of nostalgia of pre-pandemic times.

“I really missed the feeling of going to the movies. It was a place I met with friends, it was a way to bond with my family over the same movie, and most of all I missed the smell of popcorn.” sophomore Diana Shlafman said.

Many streaming services still allow people to watch movies without the hassle of going to the theaters. However, there is something about the feeling of eating popcorn and candy with friends and family at the theaters that still attracts many.

“Before the pandemic, I would often go to the movie theaters with family and friends and at the time it seemed normal to me,” junior Naina Jena said. “Compared to now, watching a movie at the theater would not be my first choice anymore since it does not seem as comfortable and as entertaining as it was before.”

After the peak of the pandemic, people immediately took the chance to experience movies in the theaters. But some have still refrained from engaging since theaters still risk the spread of COVID-19, due to people removing their mask to indulge in any purchased snacks and not putting their mask back on after eating.

“Although I believe it is best to refrain from as many public outings as possible, I do not believe that movie theaters are a threat to the spread of covid as long as the theater is sanitized and cleaned regularly after showings,” freshman Isabel Perez said. “Like any other public place, I think it would be better if movie theaters enforce masks and social distancing while sanitizing. While taking the proper precautions, I believe that movie theaters would not be a major threat to the spread of covid.”

Movie theaters were one of the many things missed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The return of movie theaters appears to be a step in the right direction as far as getting back to pre-pandemic life, however some plan to refrain until the pandemic is further behind us.