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OPINION | EDITORIAL: Signs of life

April 7, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

The news for movie theaters has been . . . not good . . . for more than a year. Covid-19 took a jackhammer to the movie industry, and some folks aren’t sure if it’ll ever recover.

We can remember going to see exactly one movie during the pandemic, Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.” Some analysts thought that would revitalize movie theaters, but it didn’t.

Blockbuster after blockbuster was pushed back by studios, which wanted to wait for a rebound at the box office before they put anything at the box office. But now that may have finally happened. All it took was a giant monkey fighting a giant lizard.

“Godzilla vs. Kong,” a throwback monster movie in which a lizard with atomic breath battles a computer-generated ape on top of an aircraft carrier (before everyone decamps to the hollow center of the Earth), took in an estimated $48.5 million at 3,064 North American cinemas between Wednesday and Sunday. “It was the largest turnout (by far) for a movie since the pandemic began,” The New York Times reports.

Not only did this movie make millions of dollars during a pandemic, it did so when folks have the opportunity to stream it at home on release day. Yet many chose to see these titans fight on the big screen.

What this seems to indicate is that plenty of Americans have been vaccinated and feel confident enough in their safety to visit their local movie theaters. Opening box-office numbers for other films during the pandemic were paltry. It’s why studios kept delaying everything.

But this latest result seems to indicate a shift. Give audiences their blockbusters back, and they’ll make it worthwhile for Hollywood executives.

Hopefully this means they’ll stop moving stuff around. We’ve wanted to see the new Bond film for months. And when that happens, maybe it, too, will make millions of dollars on opening weekend.


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