Cinema Chains Near Collapse: The Problem Beyond the Pandemic

Out-of-money-date for Cineworld — owner of Regal, second largest movie theater chain in the US — is in November or December, but it’s hoping for a US taxpayer bailout.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The cinema business – like brick-and-mortar malls – has been in structural decline long before the Pandemic. The number of movie tickets sold had peaked in 2002 in the US, and has since been declining, beset by competition from technologies that deliver movies to the home, at first DVDs, then Blue ray disks, and with the spread of broadband, online services, such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and others. People are watching more movies than ever. But they’re doing it at home: Before the Pandemic, the number of tickets sold had dropped by 22% from the peak in 2002 through 2019:

On a per-capita basis, ticket sales dropped by 31% from 2002 through 2019, from 5.5 tickets per person in 2002 to 3.8 tickets per person in 2019.

So this was a tough environment to begin with. Jacking up ticket prices while adding bars with overpriced drinks and food, and providing comfortable big chairs as amenities, worked to some extent to counteract the decline in ticket sales. In 2019, according to movie data provider The Numbers, box office sales of $11.25 billion were only a tad below 2016 ($11.26 billion) even though the number of tickets sold fell by 5%.

The Pandemic compressed the process of years into a few months.

Cineworld Group, whose Regal Theaters are the second largest theater chain in the US, behind AMC and ahead of Cinemark, announced today that it would close all its 536 Regal Theaters in the US and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theaters in the UK, starting October 8, and that 45,000 jobs are at risk:

As major US. markets, mainly New York, remained closed and without guidance on reopening timing, studios have been reluctant to release their pipeline of new films. In turn, without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK – the company’s primary markets – with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of COVID-19.

All its cinemas closed mid-March and started to re-open in June. By August, over 70% of its cinemas were open. But blockbuster movies weren’t being released and people didn’t come.

On September 24, the UK company disclosed that in the first half, which included the pre-Pandemic period, revenues plunged 67% year-over-year, generating a net loss of $1.6 billion.

Net debt jumped to $4.02 billion (from $3.5 billion at the end of the year). This debt includes a $3.6 billion term loan whose covenants Cineworld is likely to breach in several ways – which would mean a default – unless it obtains covenant waivers.

Cineworld said it had been able to come to an agreement with its lenders to extend its $111 million revolving credit line to December 31; and that it obtained an additional loan of $250 million.

Fitch Ratings, following Cineworld’s announcement today, slashed its rating by three notches, from ‘B-’ with negative outlook, which was six notches into junk, to ‘CCC-’ which is two notches above default (my cheat sheet for bond credit ratings).

“Lower-than-expected cinema attendance across Cineworld’s operating footprint is driving a longer and deeper period of cash burn than we originally anticipated,” Fitch added.

“Fast depleting liquidity” was one of the reasons Fitch cited for the downgrade. Assuming that Cineworld’s $111-million revolving credit line is not extended again, “the company’s current liquidity levels may only be sufficient until November to December 2020.”

So the company will now have to raise new funds quickly, or else November or December will be the out-of-money date.

A US taxpayer bailout might help out. Fitch said that Cineworld, though it is a UK company, has a “high” probability of receiving $200 million in bailout funds under the CARES Act by Q2 next year, “given the tax payments of the company’s US operations in the past.”

If US taxpayers dig into their pockets to bail out Cineworld, it would “make sizable positive impact to the company’s liquidity,” Fitch said. “However, the timing does not help the company’s shorter-term liquidity needs.” Because the out-of-money-date is in November or December.

Cineworld, with lease liabilities of $4.3 billion, is among the companies that have stopped paying rent for a certain period. In its September 24 disclosure, it said that it was “successful” in getting landlords to agree to waive and defer rent payments.

Fitch, citing examples in China and Hungary, held up the possibility of a rapid “return to normality,” meaning pre-Pandemic levels of ticket sales, if the health concerns recede, and if “film releases” return to normal levels.

Film releases in turmoil, studios grapple with alternatives.

On September 3, Warner Bros. released its highly anticipated spy film “Tenet,” whose release had been delayed due to the Pandemic. But with about 70% of the theaters open in the US, and with movie goers leery of going to the movies, the $200-million movie grossed only $45 million in the US and Canada.

Movie studios reacted to avoid another fiasco like this. Warner Bros. moved the release of its “Wonder Woman 1984” from October to Christmas Day. Disney delayed the release of 10 movies by six months.

In addition – even more ominous for cinema chains – studios are starting to sell big titles directly on online platforms, bypassing cinemas altogether: This includes “Trolls World Tour” by Comcast’s Universal Pictures; and Disney’s $200-million “Mulan,” which it decided to sell on its own streaming service.

Netflix and Amazon were among the big winners in the Pandemic as consumption of goods and services – including entertainment – has shifted even more online. Movie studios, seeing the writing on the wall, have piled into it. And as brick-and-mortar malls are finding out: much of the shift to online during the Pandemic wasn’t temporary but has been staying online, and hasn’t returned to malls when they reopened.

Given the costs involved, many people, especially families (multiply everything by four or five), were already reluctant to go to the movies before the Pandemic. Now even folks who didn’t stream movies before the Pandemic have gotten used to streaming and watching movies at home, and perhaps upgraded to a nicer screen while at it. It’s going to be tough to get them to go back to a cinema.

Sure, some people want to make an event out of going to the movies, and get out of the house on a Saturday night, but a much smaller number of theaters will be enough to cater to those people. And a return to “Normality,” as Fitch called it, may prove elusive.

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  190 comments for “Cinema Chains Near Collapse: The Problem Beyond the Pandemic

  1. Arthur jannicelli says:

    Welp… Regal has removed the ability to cash in their reward points for merchandise as of today… If you’ve got any movie gift cards, liquidate them ASAP.

  2. 2banana says:

    All that.

    Plus, when was the last movie you really, really wanted or had to see?

    They even managed to destroy the Star Wars franchise.

    • andy says:

      I’m more focused on not watching NBA or NFL. But if I had to choose, I would not watch Aquaman, Mulan, or Wonder Woman.

      • Yancey Ward says:

        How true! I am finding it difficult to decide what not to watch next. It is a non-buyer’s market right now.

      • Ian says:

        Spot on. If it is not simply comic book CGI drivel, it is laced with PC/woke nonsense to re-program you, or if not that it is climate change hysteria. Netflix of course is now also going this route so their subscription is up for review also.

        • JC says:

          de·lu·sion·al
          /dəˈlo͞oZH(ə)nəl/

          adjective
          characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.

        • JC says:

          Non-PC is an excuse to leak your anger at others. You would have a better life you focus more on your own state of existence rather than find reasons to be angry. Huh, maybe I should do that.

        • wkevinw says:

          If there were really “good stories” and “good acting” I could overlook all the moral preening, but the former are just not there.

          The special effects are awesome, but after we check that box, I am looking for more.

          It’s hard to find a movie to really like in those categories in the past couple of decades even.

          When I go back and see some of the old ones, I really see what’s lacking in the new ones.

          (Note of caution: I took a college course on movie making from a guy who went to school with Lucas and knew Spielberg. If you look at their very old movies you could see that they knew the art of movie making. Lucas made Start Wars on a bit of a whim, by the way. He thought it would make some money as a Saturday Matinee draw and needed the money.)

        • joe2 says:

          I have found a lot of good books – new and old – to read lately. All on Kindle. Good stories, good plots, good characters and thought provoking situations. Why they insist on remaking the same bad movies over and over I don’t understand. Seems like they are just fine tuning their propaganda.

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          Netflix’s Enola Holmes. The movie destroyed a literary character who happens to be a man for no other reason than to create this lady character completely devoid of charm, but no worries, she’s smarter than the Holmes brothers!!!!

          Dame Agatha Christie, would probably roll over in her grave.

          Virtue signalling monkeys.

        • Movie_Buff says:

          I’m sorry. What “PC/Woke” thing is in theaters? I’m a pretty big movie buff and things haven’t really changed a ton for box office hits. Star Wars was about resistance leaders fighting fascism. The resistance was modeled after the Vietcong and the empire were modeled after the Nazis and was basically laughing at America for imperialism in Vietnam.

          I’ve seen someone complain about Enola Holms. A Sherlock Holms spin off written to give lead actress Millie Bobbie Brown of Stranger Things fame, a new role. Sherlock Holms has had so many iterations and reboots. The real Sherlock Holms novels have him as very compassionate and empathetic. Most modern day interpretations emphasize logic when that wasn’t the case.

          Is Wonder Woman PC? She’s pretty much been a feminist created icon since her debut in the 40’s.
          There’s been more recent films critiquing racism but there was Roots which was a major TV hit back in the 70’s, among others.
          There’s an occasional film about gay men loving each other but that’s laughable when you realize how gay the 80’s were. Most 80’s fashion is simply seen as modern day queer fashion of today. Not the mention the laughable sexual overtones in a lot of 80’s cinema (Top Gun being a big one, Labyrinth another). If anything the modern day gay romance is damn near tame to the shirtless men and bulging crotches of the 80’s that were played up as “macho”. Queer icon film Rocky Horror filmed in the 70’s.
          The only thing that’s really faded is the ultra masculine super soldier, like the Arnold Schwarzenegger films from before. Except you can still find plenty of them and some series like Rambo and Rocky never left. They just aren’t big blockbusters as they used to be.

          Slasher flicks exist but have been radically different because the formula is played out. Comedies don’t make money anymore so few of them come out. The ability to watch foreign films and independent films has greatly increased and the have been putting out fantastic pieces of art.

          I’d say the biggest things that change is depictions of middle class suburbia being just white people. But that’s because suburbia has radically changed. It’s largely a mix of people and many are no longer factory workers but educated engineers and scientists. So you’ll more likely see yoga classes, and fathers who are more intellectual rather then macho, hands on type. Kids are knowledgeable but isolated with the internet so rebellious types are more common.

          Also, with China being a big market due to the US being a declining super power, the audiences catered to now must be conscious of a larger Chinese audience.

      • Happy1 says:

        I hate to break it to you, but the demographic on this blog isn’t the demographic movie makers are aiming for, so it is no surprise the movies aren’t appealing to you and I.

    • Frederick says:

      Very true I think the last movie I saw in the cinema was Shawshank Redemption

    • X-Pat DE says:

      “Bohemian Rhapsody” 16.12.2018. Before that the last time I was in the cinema was for “The Simpsons the film”.
      Hollywood has been going downhill, or pushing their agenda(s) very hard and the amount of films I watch/own on DVD have drastically reduced since around 2004.
      The free time from “having” to watch the latest blockbuster is liberating.

    • Brant Lee says:

      Do you mean a movie with an actually enjoyable well-written story? Characters who don’t say and do F every three minutes?

      I dropped cable in May because they (local monopoly) just kept jacking the price. I get some good stations via antenna and you-tube. I’ve never enjoyed tv so much. Old movies 20s to 70s can be absolute gems. Besides, we’re all now too cultured these days to go to a drive-in movie that showed these great flicks.

    • Arizona Slim says:

      Well, hey there, Dual Bananas! I remember you from The Housing Bubble Blog.

      I think I last went to the movies in 2012. Friend suggested the movie, I went, and it wasn’t that good.

      But documentary DVDs from the library? Or streamers on YouTube? Man, I am all over those!

    • Young Buck says:

      I really wanted to see the new James Bond movie this year.

  3. Javert Chip says:

    Yea, I known I’m an old grouch and everything, but the only good think about the movies was the smell of the popcorn.

    I’m not feeling a compelling taxpayer reason to turn a dying industry into a totally zombie industry.

  4. MonkeyBusiness says:

    “an agreement with its lenders to extend its $111 billion”. Million?

    Cinemas aside though, the US economy looks decent, Markit Services PMI signalled expansion.

  5. Robert says:

    Somewhere around 2010 Hollywood stopped taking chances. For the last several years there has been maybe only one movie a year I’d go to the theatre for. All we have now is an endless parade of super-hero movies and animated features. Sure thing hits with a certain kind of person.

    • California Bob says:

      I really wanted to see ‘Greyhound,’ with Tom Hanks (who doesn’t like Tom Hanks?). But, I think it’s only on Apple TV or Apple+–I can’t keep track of all the subscriptions services–and $20+/mo adds up it you get enough subscriptions.

      • Dan Romig says:

        Ford v Ferrari on Blu-Ray. Purchased at the local Target the day it was released.

        Every once in a while, a film deserves being added to one’s library, and this one is in mine. Having a hard copy to watch anytime & anywhere is unbeatable IMO.

        • California Bob says:

          I caught FvF at the local ‘Regal.’ It was a biggee for me because my dad worked for Ford during that period–based out of the Milpitas assembly plant–and, of course, we followed the races closely. Dad got a string of company cars: several Mustangs, a couple T-Birds and a Galaxy 500 among others.

        • Clete says:

          I watched FvF on a plane a few months ago, and even on a small screen with headphones it was a fine film.

      • Keith says:

        For me, I just rotate services with my roku, as they make it easy to cancel and subscriptions are monthly. I am on HBO now, as I wanted to watch GOT, and after doing the math, it was cheaper to get the service for a couple of months. Add some of the free services, such as vudo, sling, cowboy classics, drone in classics, crackle and even a Betty boop, along with the nat geo family that has a small selection of freebies, you can do pretty well for tv and movies.

        • Yancey Ward says:

          This is the way to use subscription services- keep one for a couple of months, watch everything they have that interests you, cancel and move on to another. Netflix has about 2 months watching time worth of new programs for me every year to year and a half. The better values, for me at least, has been BritBox and Acorn- decades worth of British crime dramas that I happen to like a lot- still working through their available programming after 2 1/2 years.

        • DawnsEarlyLight says:

          Yes, this is the perfect way to do it! Prime, YouTubeTV, Netflix,… on and on it goes! Be careful though, some services count the free 7 days, or 2 weeks period in the bill with a credit, and the true billing cycle starts 7 days or 2 weeks earlier than you thought!

      • Frederick says:

        A lot of people from some of the stories I’ve been reading lately Same with many others including Spielberg and Ellen DeGeneres

      • Annette says:

        Just concentrate on one site for a few months. Watch what’s good. Cancel. Then move on to another. By the time you get back to the first one, they’ll be new stuff.
        It’s what I do.

    • Bet says:

      When hedge funds took over movie making it went downhill. I value those two hours my time , and the last few years I refuse to waste my time on the dreck that’s called cinema
      I see better more original fare on the TV.
      Seems it’s all geared to the 25 yr old male and younger. No originality anywhere

    • Seneca’s Cliff says:

      One of the problems with the superhero movies is that they never have real villains that are relevant to today’s world. If you want to get me back in the theaters after Covid let’s see a movie where Superman pays a visit to the Fed. Or the Hulk knocks on the door of the private equity groups that has just shut down a factory and stolen the workers pensions.

      • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

        I would be on board with that. I collected comic books back in the early-mid 80s as a teenager. Owned some that would be worth a small fortune today.

        You reminded of a short lived and funny series Marvel did called “What if?” (alternate universe type stuff).

        One especially funny one was “What if Aunt May (Peter Parker’s mom essentially) Got Bit by the Radioactive Spider?”

        So imagine everything you associate with Spider Man except it’s an elderly woman as the heroine!

      • p coyle says:

        i guess we won’t be seeing you at the theater anytime in the foreseeable future!

      • 728huey says:

        So I guess you wouldn’t mind seeing the Avengers where Thanos appoints himself head of the Federal Reserve and with a snap of his fingers evaporates the life savings of working people so the ultra rich and corporations get even richer.

      • Nik says:

        Well Amigo Bardi..lolol If you have Netflix,watch ‘Blacklist’ yes its “Campy” at times, a lil too much graphic violence and Mr Spader is a tad pretentious….lolol However,over its 7 seasons it does a respectable job of shining thought provoking spotlights on many interesting contemporary Issues….aloha amigo

  6. gorbachev says:

    Cant bailout a dying industry Save the money for
    something that will bounce back

    • edmondo says:

      Like airlines!

      I promise I will vote against any incumbent who votes to GIVE away more money to zombie British companies. WTF? Last I heard there were 26 million on unemployment. How many were movie ushers?

      • Nik says:

        Edmondo..the Pandemic has merely increased the Speed,Focus and Dislocations in mankind’s Evolution towards an Immense ‘People/worker-less’ Corporate and Technologically run Worldwide Economy. The deep do-do will start,when they figure out how to get AI to fully Reason/Think,instead of just Fine-tuning massive amounts of information/Data for decision making…aloha amigo

  7. Rcohn says:

    Let me do some high order calculus. Those companies in trouble with enough political power ask and get bailouts. Who bails them out ,the US government . This adds to the growing deficit.
    Local governments are hit by a variety of problems , many of their own making . They ask for bailouts from the Feds and get them . One derivative is that the Federal government is now assuming those
    Salaries and pensions of those Southern CA lifeguards making $200,000-$350,000.Note that as these deficits increase , interest rates are going lower. If you assume that lower interest rates mean lower risk , then the second order derivative is that as deficits go higher and higher , risk goes lower and lower. So the third order derivative is that deficits are no longer the governors of spending .The Federal government has an incentive to run higher and higher deficits.Higher and higher deficits must mean lower interest rates so the fourth derivative is that investors trample each other to invest at negative interest rates. And lower interest rates also mean that the discount rate to value equities also moves lower making the present value of any future expected earnings worth infinity. Thus the fifth derivative is that the value of companies like W or TSLA is far far too CHEAP.Why should TSLA have a market cap of only 450b. 5 trillion or even 20trillion.? Because the top %10 of investors own the vast majority of equities and bonds and real estate, the sixth derivative is that the GINI coefficient goes much higher with the wealthiest % 1 eventually controlling % 99.9 of the countries assets. Does this present any problems . NO, because the seventh derivative is that Federal government will shower lower and middle income citizens with tons of money. This creates even larger deficits. Using the now established principle that greater deficits mean lower risk and rates, interest rates go even lower . This is creates a positive reinforcing cycle and everyone is happy.😀

    • 2banana says:

      It’s amazing that no one, in the history of civilization, has not tried this before. We all are just so much smarter and clever in modern times.

      Prosperity through cheap and easy money.

      Oh wait….

    • Anthony A. says:

      What will all this do to the price of a tub of popcorn at my local movie theater?

      • Zantetsu says:

        It will cost about $10 million dollars for that tub of popcorn at your local movie theatre, because you’ll first have to build a movie theater to buy it in.

        • andy says:

          It’s not like Elon Mask had to build Kennedy Space Center, or any infrastructure, or even invent anything new, to send SpaceX rocket to space.

        • Zantetsu says:

          andy do I have to break my post down so that you’ll understand it? Or do you have to break yours down so that I’ll understand it? Because either my sarcasm/satire went completely over your head, or your response went completely over mine.

        • Ed says:

          It would be very cheap to reopen theaters six months or a year from now, even under new owners.

          Bailing out shareholders is not why I pay taxes.

          Plus, it’s a terrible way to run an economy.

    • Hans Brink says:

      Is that for real, life guards making up to 350k? I doubt they would make 35k NZD here in New Zealand.

      • Anthony A. says:

        That’s California money….more zeros on the end…..much different than the rest of the U.S. But it buys the same stuff!

      • Rcohn says:

        Just google “why California is in trouble Forbes” to see the waste happening in CA.

      • GirlInOC says:

        I had a friend who dated a full-time lifeguard down in Laguna. There’s no way he made that much. If I recall correctly, he didn’t make much more than my friend, who was in retail management at small boutiques.

        I’d hope the skill of saving lives in the ocean would pay a living wage.

        • p coyle says:

          i would guess the rich lifeguard was in a supervisory role, for enough years to game the system, rather than the rank and file type that actually saves any lives in the ocean. i tend to be rather cynical, so take this with the proverbial grain of salt…

      • Ed says:

        I looked it up. Average life guard pay in CA is less than $15.

        But, yeah, Newport Beach — the city, not the state, pays its two highest paid life guards about $200,000 per year. It really should be cited as an example of what the super rich think it costs to raise a family in their beach town.

        • Ed says:

          That might really be average or it could be median, that $15 figure.

          Anyway, if a story sounds wild, it is rare that I don’t find a significant detail has been left out.

          Yes, Newport Beach IS different. And their life guards handle rough surf and big crowds. That town has a steep beach and the waves knock you over, even right by the shore.

          But your pool life guard in CA more broadly really is not so different than a pool life guard that most of us in the rest of the country know as the local high school kid.

        • Ed says:

          We had lunch with a friend and his kid who drove down from LA in Newport Beach two summers back. My oldest got a bloody lip on the beach. I got recited the “no shirt, no shoes” policy before I successfully begged a cup of ice off a restaurant right by the beach.

          Maybe the surf was up but it was ROUGH, way rougher than San Diego where we were visiting.

    • Tony22 says:

      At least the lifeguards save lives and act as quasi law enforcement.

      How do you feel about this kind of local tax squandering?
      “San Francisco’s $1.5 billion budget deficit isn’t stopping 18,759 highly compensated employees from each bringing home pay packages worth $150,000 (or more) annually.
      We found truck drivers loaded up with $262,898; city painters making $270,190; firefighters earning $316,306; and plumbing supervisors cleaning up $348,291 every year. One deputy sheriff earned $574,595 last year – including $315,896 in overtime.
      On average, the city’s 44,526 employees received pay and perks costing taxpayers $131,335 apiece. Four out of ten – 18,749 city workers – received a compensation package exceeding $150,000 per year.”

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2020/09/01/why-san-francisco-is-in-trouble–19000-highly-compensated-city-employees-earned-150000-in-pay–perks/

      • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

        These people are absolute pikers compared to Corporate America’s robber barons and golden parachutes!

        • Fake Name says:

          Here’s the difference: l don’t have to buy anything from the corporation. I don’t get the choice to pay for government.

        • Tony22 says:

          I agree with you. However, our local taxes are not handed -directly- to the Wall Street Cabal.

    • Nik says:

      A very Interesting line of thinking, In truth what would you expect,when Money is created out of Nothing and the Majority of these monetary recipients/institutions are assured they are “safe’ by the same people doing the “Ex nihilo” printing lolol aloha

  8. Cas127 says:

    Wolf,

    Kudos…there don’t seem to be too many industries you don’t have a pretty good read on.

    Not bad for a (mostly) one man band.

    One question…who is lending $250 mil in new money to a dangerously stressed company whose best/only assets are *leases* on more or less single use real estate…that can’t really be used…

    ZIRP has driven lenders mad.

    Or maybe that vaguely invoked $200 mil in future CARES money (mechanics?) is for real.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Cas127,

      I cover the industry at least annually, every January. Been doing it for a few years — in part because it’s a big industry, and in part because it runs in parallel with my brick-and-mortar retail meltdown theme that I’ve been discussing for four years, and in part because it impacts commercial real estate which is a core topic here.

  9. Brady Boyd says:

    I no longer spend 1 cent at any movie chains owned by China.

    • Ridgetop says:

      @ Brady Boyd.

      Ditto!

    • Rcohn says:

      Why don’t You exams that and stop spending on anything made in China. A suggestion start with AAPL iphones

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        Virtue signalling people are the worst especially when the target is off. Unlike AMC, Cineworld does not appear to be owned by the Chinese. It’s a British cinema chain.

        • Apple says:

          Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

          AMC is owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Apple,

          Just to quibble with the details… AMC is publicly traded in the US [AMC]; Dalian Wanda reduced its stake in 2018 to 38%. Still, though…

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          Yes, but Cineworld is not and this article is about …. Cineworld.

          Man, some people are really something.

        • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

          Didn’t some American former reality tee-vee show star’s daughter get a whole bunch of patents in China recently?

          Everything from clothing to cosmetics to (uh yeah….) voting machines?

          Any clamor about that to report? Just asking for a friend.

      • Brady Boyd says:

        I agree with you and starting over the past two years as well as for all future purchases I try to buy made in USA whenever possible. When that’s not possible, I try to buy vintage old USA made products on OfferUp. Of course that’s not always the case and have to reluctantly buy something from China. My strong preference is the product I buy is made anywhere, but China. Unfortunately many of my prescription meds or the raw materials come from China, but I try to research and whenever I can I switch to a different pharma brand. Sadly many of the stuff made in USA still uses global materials, which probably come from China. I do hear more and more American shoppers are tired of the unbelievably lousy quality products from China and willing to pay more for something better. To clarify when I say China products, that’s mainland China. Taiwan makes for the most part decent quality products, close to or on par with USA stuff with global materials. I don’t mind owning stuff made in Taiwan.

        • p coyle says:

          “Taiwan makes for the most part decent quality products, close to or on par with USA stuff”

          like lousy movies and theaters people are for the most part afraid to go to and/or can’t afford? those types of products?

    • MCH says:

      That’s r****t…. are you saying that the service from the American workers in movie theater is bad? No problem, we can fire them, leverage the H1B process to bring in workers from China for those theaters.

      🤣

      Remember, if Chinese companies can do manufacturing, they can learn service too. How hard is it to do a grande soy latte with no whip, no sugar, but extra foam.

      😝

      • Nik says:

        Simply put..a Robot will be the Barista of the Future,not to mention the many other ‘Service-Like chores’ soon to see a massive Exodus of Humans,the Chinese Included lolol..aloha

  10. Film has simply devolved, which has to do the demise of literature and reading. All the popular writers today make third world cultural travelogues. As Wolf said, his time in Africa changed him. We all want the experience, and the old cinema doesn’t address that. The graphic superhero story now seems opulent, a matter of conspicuous consumption. Viewers are embarrassed to go into a theater, but they will watch the film at home. TV permanently formed their blue collar sensibilities. A working class medium, which distributes content (almost) for free, the old TV would give us the new literature, perhaps. The new high tech TV is a glossy magazine ad for perfume, scratch and sniff, and you get the real story in politics at a Trump rally, not on TV. If you’re not buying something in America, you aren’t American, the product is the process. Buying the film experience is ungenteel.

    • Dano says:

      Last film I saw was Ford v. Ferrari. Had everything I liked in a movie, cars, fast action at times, guys being guys, etc. I personally love action films like Bourne. Wife prefers horror—the bloodier the better.

      Everyone has their tastes. Except Hollywood. There is no taste left there anymore. Last truly epic, non-formulaic film I enjoyed from there was “The Shawshank Redemption”. Yeah, there have probably been others but that they don’t immediately come to mind says something.

      I don’t think anyone would approve a “Blade Runner” anymore, or a “Casablanca” or “Chinatown”.

      On the other end I don’t think viewers have enough patience for such films.

      We should feel honored (those of us old enough) to have lived through the making of such great films as noted above, or “Three Days of the Condor”, “Being There”, “Network” etc

      • Relevant Third World Cinema is still in short supply. I often argue that the American populist position on China completely ignores Colonial/Post Colonial reality, and China’s global expansion. During the colonial expansion nations with vibrant film industries offloaded their values onto simple cultures, creating all sorts of cognitive dissonance. Now China which has no film industry and only a budding industrial based culture, meets the third world on somewhat equal footing in a post colonial setting. Despite differences in economic policy, military, and security, it may be the lack of cultural bias between them creates a relationship of mutual benefit, rather than exploitation. The west may have to reinvent International Communism to block this advance, which would be predictable, and probably disastrous.

    • Tony22 says:

      “Film”???
      Everthing these days in theaters is video projection, downloaded from a server, with the commensurate decline in quality of the image.
      For example, Citizen Kane, shot on high quality film, with great depth of field, and multiple different lens choices, subtle shades of light and dark, when projected in a theater through moving rolls of film, is magnificient when compared to the same as viewed on a video screen.

      Then there are the cameras, the best video camera cannot equal a high quality film camera. The only advantage of video is cheaper and easier image and sound editing, which means that anyone can cobble together pieces of crap that has instant distrbution, with little experience or decades of artistic refinement.

  11. Michael Gorback says:

    Even before the pandemic I almost never went to movie theaters. With a big flat screen TV and surround sound who needs to spend 3 or more months of Netflix fees for overpriced crappy food and a one-time-only viewing at a fixed time?

    Besides, whoever suggested to their honey that they should go out for “Cinemax and chill”?

    The online content providers are producing their own films and series. I don’t know about others here but I love finding a good series with several seasons as opposed to a single movie.

    Movie theaters were dying before COVID-19. The virus has just pulled the future into the present.

    • Paulo says:

      Exactly, plus people talk at the movies and work their damn phones endlessly. And…it is too expensive.

      This was so inevitable. I remember back in the ’80s working in Yukon. The new town theatre was shuttered and out of business. I asked why and my boss pointed at a satellite dish on a nearby house and said, “That’s why, plus the video store.”. And now with downloads, pay per view, and Netflix? I’m surprised it took this long. Covid was the final nail.

    • coalman says:

      Agree 100%, hollywood movies= turds wrapped in tinsel.

    • MiTurn says:

      I haven’t been to a movie theater in 15 years or more. Why go? Home is better, if only because you can control the pause button.

      • gardener1 says:

        The last time I went to a movie was the late 90’s. I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything in the interim 20 years.

        If they go out of business it will have zero impact on my life. Buh bye.

  12. Petunia says:

    I would rather pay to watch new releases at home.

    • Harvey Mushman says:

      Me too!
      I hate sitting in a movie theater with the person behind me burping up pop corn, or talking, or coughing, or taking care of an infant, yada yada.
      Yes I am getting older, and so is the rest of the population. I think once my baby boomer brethren figured out how to order movies from the comfort of their homes that spelled doom for the movie theater industry.

    • DawnsEarlyLight says:

      YES! With new/recent releases readily available (even from the library!), and a decent home theater, that is easily possible with 4k large screens and dolby atmos surround systems, our homes can be the perfect viewing experience!

  13. Rcohn says:

    Sorry
    Comment was garbled
    Should read
    Why don’t you expand upon that

  14. Ridgetop says:

    Wolf,
    Don’t forget Roku. The smooth running OTT site, very easy to navigate.
    Roku’s operating system was built from scratch, as opposed to Google, Amazon? and Apple based their system from their existing smart phone operating system.
    Plus earbuds connected to the wireless remote if the wife does not want to hear your car chase scene . What did the actor say? You can 10 second rewind with subtitles for that ten seconds only. Come back and watch the rest later or the whole movie again. What could be easier, why go to a movie theater and pay crazy ticket prices and overpriced food.
    Flat screen TV’s now days are so big, you can have the same distance to screen size ratio at home.
    Cheers.

    • Harvey Mushman says:

      I love Roku. I would say that 98% of my TV viewing is Roku, and most of that is YouTube. The downside is that I think Roku/YouTube has ruined my attention span. Sometimes I can spend a couple of hours jumping from one show to the next without really watching anything.

      • DawnsEarlyLight says:

        I love that flimsy cheap remote! It proves you don’t need an expensive, over optioned device, to make a well thought out, easy to use control.

    • California Bob says:

      Side note: I used to work with the SVP of Engineering for the Roku OS (prior to him joining Roku). A Russian, one of the smartest people I’ve ever met–created a new discrete cosign transform (DCT) compression algorithm, similar to Fournier while in college, IIRC–and funny as all hell.

  15. Michael Engel says:

    1) I don’t care about what Hollywood try to sell.
    2) I don’t care about the kneeling NFL & EPL.
    3) Global audience is down for Hollywood movies and narcissist athletes.
    4) The theaters are empty.
    5) The stadiums are empty.
    6) They forgot who the customers are.
    7) They own the yachts, but the customers don’t.
    8) When the NFL bosses will go BK, the yachts owners will get
    them for ten cents/ dollar.
    9) From the weak hands to the strong hands, only the smartest and the ruthless survive.
    10 They have too much appetite.

    • Javert Chip says:

      This is the ONLY post from ME that I’ve actually understood, and I’m in violent agreement with about every word.

    • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

      I believe the NFL rakes in about $10,000,000,000.00/year +/- based on tv revenues alone.

      They don’t need anybody in the stands. They were sued for paying cheerleaders $5/hour and didn’t want to give the refs a decent salary or any benefits either.

      I love the game, hate the owners and am not horrified by a silently kneeling man or somebody saying “My life matters.”

  16. gorbachev says:

    Look I did not mean to be abrupt when I said not to
    fund movie theatres. I really enjoyed the godfather
    bond movies and star wars on the massive screen along with
    sound systems and the food to boot.
    Cost is not a big deal either.Chinese costs about a 100 and a night
    at the movie about the same.One lasts 24s hrs the other forever.
    Fewer people now enjoy the experience which means fewer outlets
    and investors need to take the hit.
    The areas that need to be helped are space medical and those without
    income etc.

    cheers

  17. Moelicious says:

    Work from home. Watch tv at home. Watch movies at home. Watch sports at home. Have restaurant food delivered to the home. Get groceries delivered to the home. Have all goods shipped to the home by Amazon. Get a degree online, while at home.

    There is a whole big world out there to explore. Have an adventure! All you old farts sitting at home all day, complaining, will get major depressive disorders.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Moelicious,

      It’s the young people who do everything at home, from trying to meet future dates (via dating apps) to riding bicycles (Peloton). And when they do go out on a date, such as a restaurant, instead of staring longingly into the eyes of the other and connecting, they’re busy each on their own smartphone. How do you like that as an over-generalization that’s admittedly not quite as masterful as yours 🤣

      • California Bob says:

        Zing!

      • MCH says:

        they can stare lovingly into each others eyes over their smart phone screen as they furiously text one another while seated across from each other.

        After all, with the amount of time in front of the screen, that’s the only way they are able to see.

      • Moelicious says:

        Yes, it’s generally the young that do everything at home. But good grief, the amount of complaining here about going to the movies!!! My retired father goes to a matinee once a week (pre covid) and pays half price. He enjoys the popcorn and explosions and car chases and beautiful women. Nothing wrong with that after a lifetime of serious, hard work. Movies are a safe place for kids and teens and young adults and give seniors some place to go to. My local movie theater just closed after 85 (!) years of operation. It’s a huge loss to the downtown community even if the movies supposedly aren’t as good as they used to be.

        Our happiness is linked to our experiences and our relationships. Hard to have either when we spend all our time at home.

        Best,
        Moe

    • Frederick says:

      Or hemoroids

    • Ridgetop says:

      Moelicious,
      At 65, I still go Mountain Biking in the Santa Cruz Mountain’s, and see plenty of other grey hair gentlemen doing the same. We are not playing endless videogames till 2 in the morning like some of your cohorts, you young whipper snapper you! He He!

    • kitten lopez says:

      Moelicious-

      i’m smiling that you got that reality smack down! it was these children who killed San Francisco culture! as mentioned here, i’m planning on starting a little san francisco counter culture underground, but i’m mostly focusing on people 50 and up because, well i don’t TRUST anyone under 50 myself.

      the young people who glom onto us will apprentice by moving the chairs, winding up the cables before and after shows, and doing the heavy lifting, but they’re a most frightened bunch who’d prefer to save face and order their entire lives IN.

      regarding the future of american children, if they accidentally foist lurch or stumble into finding the right holes at the right time, they might have kids, and the future of america and humanity can only hope that their kids will rebel against the tyranny of screen world and live in the natural world again and look each other in the eyes and have complicated nuanced conversations and diverse opinions.

      (who’s in fantasyland now, right?)

      i’ve told the story here about how our apartment abuts the edge of our park, and right behind my living room window there’s a secret cul-de-sac where people used to drink and get high or do secret things they think no one can see. / and one afternoon i saw a teenage boy kissing his sweetheart in her catholic school girl uniform.

      i told James to come see the first public kiss we’ve seen in DECADES here since the internet took over and the magic phone killed off the last of Real World sweet nothings and longing with constant romance-deadening texts. i was so excited to see such a natural sweet moment!

      but then the boy was apparently buzzed away from his girl in a short catholic school skirt to answer a text (????!!!!) and ..he pulled out his phone and just… STAYED there bending over into his phone while his frustrated girl was squirming all over him trying to get his attention back to HER.

      i was so horrified James had to stop me from flinging open the window and saving his life and the future of our country by screaming: “NOOO! IF YOU DON’T KISS YOUR GIRL NOW YOU WILL SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE PAYING HOOKERS THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO WEAR CATHOLIC SCHOOL UNIFORMS AND RELIVE THIS WASTED MOMENT! KISS HER NOW BECAUSE YOU DON’T GET TO KISS HOOKERS!”

      Petunia here thinks she’s done stick a fork in her. nah. Petunia’s my sweater girl and Lisa Hooker’s gonna hot wire the Mustang. i know this even if they’re each closer to age 80.

      and isn’t the young ones on drugs for all their anxiety and depressive disorders? and these young people have morals thinner than their skin.

      they belong to us so i love ’em and we should keep turning them so’s they don’t get bed sores how they live, but i wouldn’t count on them to actually ever DO anything. they were bred to be this way like chicken with breasts so big they cannot stand on their teeny tiny ankles.

      it’s a tiny ankle world in hollytown, too: elite-bred (=safe bored predictable) writers go directly from their parents’ homes or upscale dorms to expensive guru-writers (“writers” who don’t actually sell screeplays just books and expensive workshops on how to sell screenplays). novelists the same. no one does or tries anything to write about anymore. they go to iowa writers workshop to find out what they’re SUPPOSED TO WRITE ABOUT.

      that’s why i quit writing and returned to living. there is no muscle behind most folks’ WORDS anymore and i get why they avoided living and prefer the eternal life of Middle Wo/Man. it is BRUTAL as hell out here on the bottom where 2+2 equals less 10% here and a $5 service charge there.

      it’s all tiny ankles out there in the under 50 crowd. i’m trying to redeem myself here regarding sex, and i’ve had a few lovers in their popcorn 20s, so i won’t even GET into the superiority of older men as lovers with attention spans stamina longevity intensity good conversation tolerance swagger and pure hairy-armed/big analogue watch daddiness all that YUM.

      and surprise to even myself, i even GET how young men think i’m all that at age 53.

      x

      • 728huey says:

        Your rant sounds like the scene in It’s a Wonderful Life when George is a walking home with Mary after the graduation dance and promises to lasso the moon for her. A guy watching them on his front porch screams out Why don’t you kiss her!?! ” George gets into an argument with him with they guy giving up and saying “Aww, it’s wasted on the young.”

  18. Gian says:

    Marx was wrong, movies/NFL/NBA, etc…, are the opiate of the masses.

    • Dan Romig says:

      “… films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.”

    • Rcohn says:

      The sports part seems to no longer be true given the recent ratings on tv

  19. G89 says:

    Wolf, hello
    If I learned something from dinosaur is that you have to adapt quickly to survive a hard environment. If you can’t do it you are in trouble.

    Cinema is like a dinosaur, if they want to survive at least they need a big restructuration.

    Bailout most of the time just delay the inevitable.

  20. Dano says:

    That “able to convince their landlords” line was a hoot! What’s a landlord going to do, evict them? And then fill that space with what, an indoor paintball range?

    I was at a local B grade mall recently. In a B grade city. This thing is at least a city block long. Half of it was empty and has been for some time. It’s not the only one.

    When your anchor tenants are Big 5, Goodwill & Harbor Freight, not much to attract yo be around you anyway. The only 2 small store were a nail salon and an optical chain.

    I’m confident when Leases expire there, negotiated rates will be dropping, not rising.

    I imagine some insurance company retail property manager has been having many sleepless nights.

    • polecat says:

      Ah. Time for a viewing of the original “Dawn of the Dead” ..

    • California Bob says:

      Discount Harbor Freight at your peril. If you fix cars or build houses for a living, you get the best Matco, DeWalt or Snap-On have to offer for your day-to-day, but if you need, say, an air die grinder for a one-off job, HF is your go-to. Sure, their stuff is made in China, but so is Matco and Snap-On, and the quality depends on American management (esp. QA; my ex-wife was a product manager for Oraclehardware in China, and one of my aircraft partners was QA oversight for the iPhone–I have stories to tell).

      HF has been upping its game over the years, and if it ever goes public it’ll be a smash (it’s family/one guy-owned now). The employees at the HFs I’ve bought from have been among the most helpful–and cheerful–you’ll find anywhere (says something about ownership/management, no?). All HFs donated all available PPE to caregivers, very early on in the pandemic (still can’t get my favored nitrile gloves).

      • Dano says:

        Not knocking them at all! I spent about $1400 on tool boxes with them in August. But… are they a ‘draw’ like a grocery store? I don’t have to go there daily, or weekly, or monthly. And I can’t think of too many men who can look at the women in their lives and get affirmation from the line “Hey lets go to Harbor Freight”.

        • California Bob says:

          re: ‘… I can’t think of too many men who can look at the women in their lives and get affirmation from the line “Hey lets go to Harbor Freight”.’

          Ah, but if you had an SO who likes HF it would likely be a solid relationship (I do see ‘couples’ in HF often, but they’re usually older).

          I’ve never seen an HF as an ‘anchor’ in a big mall; they’re usually in strip malls in not the best, but not the worst parts of town, except for the one in the strip mall at the corner of Lawrence Expressway and El Camino Real in San Jose*. It’s less than a mile as the crow flies from the Apple HQ.

          * Might be Cupertino of Santa Clara; it’s across Lawrence from what used to be HP’s networking division.

      • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

        My buddy says this about HF:

        “If you buy something there, it either breaks in 5 minutes or lasts forever.”

  21. Mad Dog says:

    I once liked going to the movies. I liked to go out to a theater rather than watch it at home. But even before the pandemic the movie experience started going downhill fast. First, most of the movies are made for teenagers not adults. They are crap. Just look at the previews. They are all copies of previous movies and the actor’s cartoon like characters are not developed. You have to deal with rude customers on their phones and talking and eating. Most theaters around here in Bethesda and Rockville in suburban Washington DC have inadequate parking. Now they have cashless Kiosks to buy your tickets. Many of the good seats are sold out by on-line customers in advance, so when you get there, even if you are really early, there is nothing but bad front row seats available. The tickets have gotten very expensive and the food is mostly junk food, terrible and overpriced. The last movie I went to was “1917” . Great movie with a British Cast.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      So, nobody goes to the movies anymore because the theaters are too crowded?

      Be realistic – only the very young and very old people get out to movies because only they have the free time and disposable income.

      The type of movies that are made, exist to cater to those audiences. Hence the superhero stuff.

      If you want to bring back good movies, just bring back the middle class so an average family of 4 can enjoy a day out sometime.

    • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

      There are art house cinemas that (well used to) play independent, foreign and classic films…along with film festivals, documentaries, animation, etc.

      In Tampa, we have the gorgeous and amazing Tampa Theater.

      Sarasota has Burns Court. But yes, Hollywood is making a lot crap and it’s an absolute shame for what is supposed to be an “art form”.

  22. Mkkby says:

    I predict drive in theaters will make a comeback. Sit in a comfortable chair, eat or drink what you want, be with who you want and be isolated from the loud cretins with no manners.

    Home streaming has all that plus a pause button, but people want to get out of the house too.

    But first, Hollywood will have to decide if they are in the entertainment business or politics. Nobody needs their constant patronizing.

    • Anthony A. says:

      I was telling my wife lust that tonight right after reading Wolf’s article. I said there are probably 10 drive-in movies left in the U.S. and that’s an ideal business for this pandemic going forward. Many people have large SUV’s and can load a few folks into them, a bunch of food, some “refreshments” and party on….social distancing and all that stuff!

      I could just see these large theater buildings being ripped down and replaced with a drive-in screen and parking slots.

      I have fond memories of me and my first “real” girlfriend in the mid 1960’s in the drive-in movie on many a Saturday night. The only problem was the steamed up car windows…..(not really).

  23. DR DOOM says:

    I might go to a movie If I could see bugs bunny seductively launch and pirouette out of his burrow and plant a big kiss on Elmer Fudd and then Daffy gets blasted cause’ its duck season. Other than that I watch the blue Roku worm rotate on their free Pluto Channel. Screw HollyWood. Don’t need em’ in my world. I watched a bear eat my apples last week. He climbed the tree and knocked some off and climbed down. He lay on his belly and ate them. He then rolled around in the deep orchard grass and snorted a lot. Did I witness Joy? Hard to spot joy if you stay focused on the never ending media shit storm.

  24. Kasadour says:

    Brick n mortar retail, high rise commercial office space/buildings, and movie theaters share a common foe- each has effectively been put out of business by broadband. Covid hastened it for sure.

  25. X says:

    Hi wolf,

    Many are saying the “correction” for the stock market is over and the S&P has rallied by more than 5% since bottoming out 2 weeks ago.

    What are your sentiments regarding this and how does this affect your short position and why? I’m asking because I’m holding a short position myself too and am kinda lost if I should cut my position or just let it float (bleed money) haha. Thanks in advance!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I’m busy working on my report on surging bankruptcies :-]

      • X says:

        So I’m presuming u are still holding on to your shorts then haha. The indices don’t seem to be affected by surging bankruptcies and record layoffs as they mainly track the large companies…

      • Dano says:

        I don’t know if you follow Raoul Pal at RealVision but he believes we are now heading into what he calls “the insolvency phase”, where too many over leveraged companies are going to have their tide roll & and be found operating naked (to steal from Buffett there).

        He’s pretty darn good on these macro calls.

        • coalman says:

          Here in OZ, they have suspended usual company laws and allowed them to continue trading while insolvent until next year. Bankruptcy Galore coming in 2021.

    • Eric says:

      Shorting a market rigged to go up by Central Banks is a dangerous game.

      • Rcohn says:

        Virtually all other countries are on the liquidity bandwagon(ECB, Japan, PBOC) . Very few if any others have had a booming stock market and none are close to the overvaluation of the US stock market

    • Old School says:

      Since you already have a short position, are you able to hold it if S&P goes against you 50% for a limited period of time? If so I think since valuations are at the 99 or 100 percentile the odds are extremely in your favor of the sp500 breaching at least 3000 sometime in the next five years. Maybe it will breach 2000 or 1000.

      Sometimes you get information overload. I like to do my research and then put in my buy or sell order at multiple price points (as top and bottom picking are tough) and just try to tune out additional information for a while as the daily reaction is where I tend to goof up.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        The chances of the SPY surging 50% from here over the next few months are minimal. I mean, it could. And a big asteroid could hit the earth too. But that’s not what I’m worried about.

        The short position is down about 7%….

  26. Tonymike says:

    As the Brits say’ “Good riddance to bad rubbish!!” Hear, hear, pip, pip, and tally ho!

    As we “Merican’s” say, “Nuke it from orbit.”

  27. Boomer says:

    Well, we didn’t have to bail out Blockbuster. I don’t have to worry about someone kicking the chair from behind me or someone sitting in front of me while I watch Netflix on the 4k.

    The elephant in the room…airline bailouts. I hate to be dispassionate but retrain pilots and attendants to be FB, Twitter or Zoom programmers?

    • andy says:

      It’s not the elephant in the room, it’s not seeing the forest for the trees (I think).

    • California Bob says:

      I think airline bailouts are a(nother) way to subsidize Boeing which, of course, is a ‘national security’ biggee. Gotta help the BA execs stuff their pockets while they go from one incompetent project failure–see: ‘Tanker, KC-46’ or ‘737MAX’–to another. Such a shame for the company that seemed that it could do it all, essentially creating jet airline travel (707) and arguably the prettiest big airliner (747).

      Ah, to have witnessed Tex Johnson barrel-roll a 707 over Puget Sound.

      • Dan Romig says:

        Don’t forget the t in Tex’s last name. Since this is about cinema, Tex was the pilot that Major Kong in “Dr. Stangelove” was modeled after according to wikipedia. First pilot of the B-52.

        “I was selling airplanes.”

  28. fledermaus says:

    “Fitch said that Cineworld, though it is a UK company, has a “high” probability of receiving $200 million in bailout funds under the CARES Act by Q2 next year”

    Bwahahahaha. If that is what they are pinning their hopes on, good luck.

    • Frederick says:

      Hope they get “NOTHING” as Gene Wilder said

    • Spartan1 says:

      Why the sarcasm on no probability of not receiving bailout funds? Anything is possible to keep everything from failing with digital dollars and taxpayers money…seriously

  29. Kenny Logouts says:

    I recall several years passing between a cinema release and the film appearing to rent on VHS, and watch on your big ish CRT at home. Or Sky Movies by the late 90s. Then their ‘early’ rentals method.

    Then came DVDs and cheaper/easier region 1 players, so suddenly you could get a perfect copy of a US film from a UK independent video rental and watch it years early.
    I recall ripping rented region 1 DVDs in the late 90s and early 00s do I could keep films I’d rented.

    Then before we know it films came out and in 6 months they could be rented.
    You could rent a region 1 DVD in the UK at the same time it was coming to cinemas here.

    The cinema felt to me to be phased out by the regions encouraging piracy and DVDs enabling high quality piracy.

    Hollywood encouraged this move in my view.
    Their greed has bitten them, also now terrified of making interesting risky films and just making too much screen fodder, so no one will risk a £50+ cinema trip to watch a potentially boring film.

    Plus decent home TV and sound systems (digital) arriving and being cheaper in the late 90s.

    Plus loads of film media being available in decent quality appearing. DVDs, streaming, Sky telly, UK digital channels full of films all the time.

    The cinema needs to be an experience or exclusive but it’s got nothing going for it now.

    Bring out cinema films (without leaked copies) a year or two before release to the wider market and you’d at least have exclusivity.

    But from what I see, so many films are not worth seeing, so risky to pay to see them to be disappointed.

    All considered I’d say the cinemas days are numbered as it was.

  30. Michael Engel says:

    1) Polls show double digits advantage to Biden. The DOW will drop.
    2) When the DOW will drop, 401K will flop.
    3) When voters 401K will drop, the gap between the candidates will shrink.
    4) When the gap will shrink, SPX will need a good shrink.

  31. Michael Engel says:

    Comment moderation
    11) The NFL owners are bunch of cowards.
    12) After few more painful uppercuts from the narcissist players, the TV networks will to force some discipline.
    13) It all started with the arrogant King Michael Jordan, collecting large checks, disrespecting Chicago Bulls owners, doing them a favor.
    14) Their checks were crumbs in comparison to his total income.

  32. zee says:

    13) It all started with the arrogant King Michael Jordan, collecting large checks, disrespecting Chicago Bulls owners, doing them a favor.

  33. BuySome says:

    Movies were very useful beyond mere entertainment. They brought us Forbidden Planet in 1956, which warned of how we were our own worst enemies through employing those technologies we create betond our ability to cope with the consequences. Humans once looked up above the treetops at night to see stars rise and fall repeatedly and it gave them a sense of continual renewal, like the illusion of Carousel in Logan’s Run (1976). But now we know that it is just a daily reminder of how things that exist tend to age and burn out over time. We can’t stop it, but we can bring forth the new to replace the old. However, if you replace at an excessive rate you might crowd out everything else like those trees and all the other life. And then something like Covid comes along to whack us in the head and say, “See, you’re creating monsters of your own doing because you didn’t pay attention to what your toys were capable of”. Yes, airplanes, high rises, malls, and all the rest…we did it. Time to deal with it as the movies have served their purpose….education for the masses.

  34. Michael Engel says:

    1) Slam dunk from Chicago synagogue, BO first house, to the white house.
    2) MJ & BO are locker room friends for life.
    3) Who cares about Chicago Bulls owners.

  35. SC says:

    With all these movie theatres closing how will impact the Hollywood elites?

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      The working elites or the investing elites?

    • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

      The only thing worst than Hollywood elites are the political ones. Remember when Baby Bush the Lesser and President Cheney invaded the wrong country after 9/11?

      Trillions of dollars down the toilet, thousands of dead/maimed US soldiers, untold #s (possibly a million or more) dead civilians, etc, etc, etc.

      I’m a long-time lover of the movies. The theater and the outdoors were my safe spaces. The Elephant Man was the first film that brought me to tears (in my defense, I was 11-12 years old). I even spent some time as a projectionist. The cinema has a long and amazing history.

      Reading of the demise of this theater chain and the 45K jobs lost is just another reminder of how differently things might have been, were it not for incompetence from the Oval Office.

      They weren’t great jobs, but a bad job is usually better than no job.

  36. MAGA says:

    Demographics also contributes to the decline in theater attendance. The key moviegoer group was adolescent and teen boys. This size of this group has been falling in the US.

  37. A/C in SD says:

    I generally do not go to movie houses. I did like the Mission Impossible series a bit. If they released the new Top Gun sequel, Maverick, I suspect folks would come out of their Covid Dens to watch that one. TC is still one heck of a draw for the box office.

  38. Mora Aurora says:

    I gave up on Hollywood cinema content long ago, then spent too much time searching at the video store. Next I tried Roku and Netflix and would fall asleep while surfing. Gardening, orcharding, cooking, reading, shoveling snow and tinkering with pinball machines keeps me very awake now!

    However, as a kid I remember being glued to the two snowy rabbit ear channels and the twenty-five cent matinees!

  39. Josap says:

    I would much rather actual theater get bailed out. Forget movies.

  40. c1ue says:

    So when is the drive-in theater returning?

  41. BuySome says:

    From cave drawings to decorating Greek pottery to Matthew Brady’s body of work. Thence accelerating the still frames of a story into cinematic flow. But the quality is entirely dependent upon the source, be it book or original screenplay. Watching the interviews related to putting together L.A. Confidential is very enlightening on the creative process involved. Now they are trapped in having to repeatedly milk the huge investment poured into the intellectual licensing of properties from the superhero world and there’s little left for going beyond. The drive-in theatres and restaurants (not drive up, but car service) could come back strong only if the cost of a hot dog suddenly drops…and that means shucking the bad debts to induce deflationary pressure…not what the Fed wants on their menu board. Besides, “hugging with your baby in the last row of the balcony” ain’t enough to bring back Saturday Night At The Movies. Do you know where your teenagers are? Out on the bluffs with Natalie Wood or racing down the Hollywood Freeway? Doing drugs at the hippie camp up Laurel Canyon or riding the waves at e-Surf City?

    • BuySome says:

      More useless commentary….Lucas lovers note…American Graffiti, his true masterpiece, is a four part/four character re-working of Shane…that’s right, look close. Additionally, Star Wars and Star Trek are largely derived from Forbidden Planet elements, a movie in which Disney had an indirect hand. So it is not surprising that we have come full circle only to have these guys mishandling it like so much if the other things that were wrecked in the absence of Walt and Roy to oversee the direction. Beloved Mickey and Beloved Minnie are what you will find on a gravesite just beyond the steps of the Capitol Dome, which itself has been cast in metal for white painted pencil sharpeners from China. Now points up and get to drawing…we need a new storyboard by close of (Monkey) business.

      • Sam says:

        Re Lucas: True.

        Addendum: Within AG was Masha Lucas’s prolific editing in shaping the film. Same w/the first & second Star Wars.
        From what i read (my fascination with those behind the scenes in any project/production that provokes a successful outcome), it was rumored that she could have been given a major producer role in Hollywood.
        I understand her desire/need to raise (future) children which provoked her exit from George.

  42. p coyle says:

    “Taiwan makes for the most part decent quality products, close to or on par with USA stuff”

    like lousy movies and theaters people are for the most part afraid to go to and/or can’t afford? those types of products?

  43. Jdog says:

    IMO anything that drains the money out of Hollywood is a good thing.
    Let the so called “celebrities” all go bankrupt and have to work for regular wages… Same goes for pro athletes.

  44. Brian James says:

    It’s the lockdown!

    Apr 12, 2020 Arkansas Gov. defends lack of lockdown

    Arkansas is one of seven states not under such an order.

  45. Bob Morrison says:

    I don’t watch the NBA for it’s politics, or to be propagandized with what they demand are ‘acceptable’ culture norms. I don’t watch the NFL for politics, or to be propagandized with their ‘acceptable culture’ norms. I don’t watch movies for political propaganda or to be propagandized with any studio’s ‘acceptable’ culture norms. I WATCH THESE TO ESCAPE THE PROBLEMS AND CHAOS AND STRESS Of the real world. NOT TO RELIVE THEM!!!!!! If I can’t use these things to escape, then I’m not going there!!!! I’m definitely not paying to be lectured to! When are these morons going to learn that?????

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