A number of New Jersey theaters remain closed waiting for new releases. What’s next?

There's a tradition in the movies after the Oscar nominations come out -- studios often re-release best picture nominees to theaters, a win for movie fans and theater owners looking to cash in on the buzz. But this year -- it's a different story.
Movie theaters sat shuttered for much of 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, even the buzz about Oscar contenders won't get as much post nomination screen time that they normally would.
“We depend on those art movies and independent movies, so this would have been a very busy time for us,” says Doreen Sayegh, owner of the Cranford Theater.
Sayegh says even Oscar hype surrounding nominated films that are available to screen isn't enough for her to open the doors to the theater’s five auditoriums.
“Capacity limitations make it very challenging to open the doors and be viable,” says Sayegh.
Die hard movie goers in New Jersey are by now used to searching for an open theater, since cinemas were allowed to reopen in September. But many have not.
Best picture nominees ‘The Father’ and ‘Nomadland’ will screen this weekend at Basie Cinemas in Red Bank. Most of the eight best picture nominees announced Monday relied on streaming services to find an audience, but with movie theaters now reopened in New York City and Los Angeles, the two biggest movie going markets, more new releases are in the pipeline for the spring.
“The buzz in the industry is that come May, there's a heavy line up of new releases that are planned and so far, it looks like they're standing,” says Sayegh.
Sayegh is eyeing a reopening then, hoping audiences feel comfortable coming back.