DENVER (CBS4) – The Regal Cinemas theaters in Colorado that reopened during the COVID-19 pandemic will now go dark again. The company said they will now close all movie theaters temporarily.
The impact for 13 Regal theaters across Colorado, including the location in the downtown Denver Pavilions, is likely to mean more than just jobs.
“There are a lot of businesses that are built around the theaters themselves,” said Donald Zuckerman the Colorado Film Commissioner. “If people can’t fill the theaters because of social distancing, then they can’t get the revenue they need out of the theater.”
Some of the theaters that reopened a few weeks ago have been playing old movies. Without new movies drawing a crowd the theaters are going dark again.
Blockbusters, the whole idea of them is to pack the theater. Right now that’s just not practical,” Zuckerman said. “I think people are scared to gather in an interior space without social distancing, so it’s just not a good time.”
Zuckerman pointed that normally the movie industry booms during a recession. The pandemic has caused myriad problems including movie production and new forms of distribution that bypass theaters.
“Watching the numbers over the past few weeks as theaters have started reopening. I knew it was just a matter of time,” said Keith Garcia the Artistic Director of the Sie FilmCenter for Denver Film. Garcia says he monitors what chain theaters do so he can be better informed for what’s best for the independent Sie.
“It says a lot for what the future of film is, and film exhibition is for everybody,” Garcia said.
He’s worked at theaters since he was 16 years old, but doesn’t feel safe in an enclosed theater with a crowd of strangers.
“I don’t know how comfortable I am sitting in there with them for two hours and movies are a shared experience. I hate not having that shared experience with people because it’s so suspect,” Garcia said.
“I think we need theaters. And I think in rural areas of Colorado, the theaters are really important gathering places for the community,” Zuckerman said.