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Amid growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, and in recognition of the local mandates that have recently been put into effect pertaining to large gatherings, several movie theaters in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York have made the decision to go dark.
“Cinemas shutting down in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County and Bergen County in New Jersey include 10 AMC locations and a handful of Regal sites,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
These closures were easy to confirm via the AMC app. When selecting theaters, places like AMC Garden State and AMC Newport Centre display a message that reads: “We have temporarily closed this theater in accordance with the directive from local authorities. Please check back for updates.”
Alamo Drafthouse locations in New York City have also been closed. A message on their website reads: “Until further notice, we are deeply sad to say that Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn and Yonkers are closed.”
The notification adds that tickets will be refunded, and billing for season pass memberships will be suspended.
THR adds that “other movie theaters closed in New York include … BAM, Film Society at Lincoln Center, Nitehawk Cinema, IFC Center, Metrograph and Film Forum.”
While some theaters are closing, others are taking exceptional cautionary measures, such as cutting seating capacity by half in order to distance customers from each other, and even sanitizing seats after each showing.
In the wake of the coronavirus, the movie industry has been smacked. Over the last two weeks, five major films have been pulled from their upcoming opening weekends, including Disney’s “Mulan,” Universal’s “Fast 9,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II,” and Universal’s “No Time to Die.”
The box office has also suffered a massive blow. ABC News reports that “ticket sales plunged to their lowest levels in at least 20 years at North American movie theaters as the coronavirus pandemic led to one of Hollywood’s worst weekends at the box office.”
This weekend, currently released films raked in a combined $56 million at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates, the lowest since September 2000. With no new tentpole films in sight, and the potential for more theater closings, the box office for the next several weeks will likely look even worse.
The next major film still holding onto its scheduled release date is Marvel’s “Black Widow,” which is set to debut on May 1.
The coronavirus, which originated in China’s Hubei province, has infected more than 158,000 people worldwide, resulting in more than 6,000 deaths, according to NBC News, which cites data from its own reports, “World Health Organization, state government leaders, and health officials.”
In the United States, there have been 3,510 confirmed cases, and 67 deaths.
On Friday, President Trump declared a national emergency to help combat the virus, and during a Saturday press conference, the president and vice president noted the possibility of restricted domestic travel when asked by a reporter.
Multiple events have been cancelled or postponed, destinations shuttered, and even primary elections rescheduled in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.