Americans Split Over Whether Movie Theaters Should Close Amid Outbreak
With the flood of virus announcements developing in King County, Washington; Santa Clara, California; Los Angeles; and the Tri-state area, Americans are still not taking the pandemic seriously.
Americans are perplexed by the severity of the virus outbreak, which was seen in the most recent Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll, suggesting that many were split on whether movie theaters should shut down to prevent further transmission of the virus.
The poll found 38% of US adults believe shuttering movie theaters to contain the virus outbreak is a good idea, and shockingly, 44% opposed the containment measures. The survey was conducted from March 5-7 among 2,200 adults across the country.
Earlier this week, we noted the virus could stay airborne for 30 minutes and travel up to 14 feet, implying that movie theaters are significant breeding grounds, sort of like cruise ships.
The reason Americans feel indifferent about virus prevention measures is that the government and mainstream media downplayed the severity of Covid-19 for months, calling it no worse than the flu, which, by the way, ended on Wednesday, when Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the fast-spreading virus is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.”
So now, major cities have community spreading and are past the point of implementing containment measures to control the outbreak, such as closing down 41,000-plus movie screens across the country.
What’s astonishing is that the rate of US containment measures is happening at such a slow speed compared to China earlier this year, who immediately shut down 70,000 movie theaters as confirmed cases in the country started to rise.
Despite the US government and corporations acting at snail-speed to protect their citizens, all because it would crash the economy and stock market, people are starting to recognize that maybe Covid-19 is more than just the flu. Theater stocks, such as AMC, Imax, and Regal owner Cineworld, have plunged in recent weeks on fears that consumers will stay home. About 46% of respondents in the study said they support the future “postponing all upcoming movie premieres.”
Some 40% of respondents said theater chains should do more to help in the fight to combat the virus. And in our view, that means theaters should be closed for the next two months, similar to what Carnival Corp. announced on Thursday morning by suspending its Princess Cruises Line. But again, in America, profits over human safety – so we’ll see if shutdowns actually come, or maybe people will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines of “social distancing.”
Roughly 43% of respondents said they agreed with the decision to postpone the new James Bond flick No Time to Die. We noted earlier this week that movie premiers and filming productions are being delayed or canceled across the world for the first half of the year.
There’s some evidence that the virus outbreak could greatly benefit online streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Hulu. About 21% of respondents in the new THR/Morning Consult survey signed up for streaming services since the virus crisis began, and 43% said they would be watching more movies at home during the pandemic.