In mid-March, movie theaters across California were forced to close due to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s new orders regarding COVID-19. Local movie theaters have been struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, because they have lost their revenue stream. Theaters have been trying to find new ways to create revenue and keep up with their bills.
In May, Reading Cinemas in Murrieta began to offer concession items via delivery with UberEats. Their most popular concessions include popcorn, giant pretzels and fresh burgers. They are also offering gift cards for people to purchase online to support the theater business during this difficult time.
“Me and my family ate at Reading Cinemas for dinner,” resident Vanessa Grimes said. “The Vegan K burger was delicious.”
Along with the concession items being offered for delivery, Reading Cinemas has partnered with Neon to give people the option of renting movies currently in theaters for a small fee. Movies include “Spaceship Earth,” “Jose” and “The Times of Bill Cunningham.” With the help of streaming services, people can now watch movies with food and beverages from Reading Cinemas and replicate the feel of sitting in a movie theater.
DeAnn Osborn, a Temecula resident, said, “Reading Cinemas is satisfying the hot buttered popcorn craving when everyone else is shut down.”
Many theater owners fear that their businesses won’t survive the pandemic. The National Association of Theater Owners has been lobbying Congress and the Trump administration for financial relief, arguing that they have been among the most affected by the virus.
The pandemic has caused studios to change the way they do business as well. Universal Pictures announced that “Trolls World Tour” would be released for on demand, April 10, in a decision that may have damaged Universal Pictures relationship with movie theaters. Paramount Pictures canceled the theater release of “The Lovebirds” all together and sold the release to Netflix.
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