Nearly half of New Jersey’s movie theaters are closed as COVID-19 pandemic continues
The movie theater industry continues to suffer losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. And as a vaccine is on the horizon, it may be coming too late for some theaters to stay in business.
When Atlantic Cinemas showed its final movies last weekend before permanently closing, the Atlantic Highlands landmark became the latest casualty of coronavirus and the movies.
“Nothing as ever been like this before,” says Bob Piechota, president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Association of Theater Owners.
Piechota got into the movie theater business with his father about 50 years ago. He owns Hillsborough Cinemas and says that pandemic-related losses are catastrophic. He says that business is down about 92% from this time last year.
Piechota says that nearly half of New Jersey’s approximately 100 movie theaters are now closed – most temporarily, but he says that the list of permanent closures is growing. Showroom Cinemas in Asbury Park and Bradley Beach is among the latest to close.
Piechota says that while word of the COVID-19 vaccine may bring optimism, the months between now and when the vaccine is widely administered will leave more theaters permanently closed.
Movie studios have also been delaying the releases of blockbuster films, including the latest James Bond movie “No Time to Die” and the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Black Widow.” And many doubt that “Wonder Woman 1984” will follow through with its December 2020 release.
This has left the theaters that are open with very little content to showcase. The theater industry is now lobbying for federal pandemic relief.
New Jersey movie theaters are only allowed to have 25% capacity under state guidelines.