Another day, another bit of bad news for the movie business around the world. As public health concerns have once again heightened in recent weeks, several countries have opted to enter new phases of lockdown and tighten up social distancing measures to help get things under control. Poland is the latest country to announce new restrictions, which includes closing all of its movie theaters for most of November. This serves as another blow to the exhibition sector, which can ill-afford any further setbacks at the moment.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recently announced that the nation is set to tighten its lockdown restrictions. Live performance venues and museums will be closing, in addition to movie theaters, as part of the newly announced lockdown procedures. The new measures go into effect on November 6 and last until November 29. If this approach doesn’t work then Morawiecki said that Poland will face a full-on lockdown, which they are hoping to avoid.
The U.K., Germany, Italy and France recently implemented similar restrictions which have served to hamper the box office even further. 2020 has been brutal on the movie business, with theaters around the world forced to close their doors for months. Around August, the U.S. and other countries opened their doors again in time for the releases of Tenet and The New Mutants. Those movies failed to perform in a big way, even if Christopher Nolan would beg to differ. To date, Tenet has earned shy of $350 million worldwide, which isn’t yet enough for it to break even.
As such, the majority of major releases have been pushed to 2021. What few remain on the calendar, including Wonder Woman 1984, are in serious danger of being delayed. These recent theater closures are going to help push the needle in that direction. AMC is on the verge of bankruptcy and Cineworld recently closed all of its theaters again indefinitely. If this is a game of Jenga, Poland just removed another brick and the tower is getting tipsy.
Poland is not near the top of the list in terms of bringing in box office dollars. The country brought in a total of $232.4 million in 2019. Considering that, globally, the box office earned $42.5 billion last year, that’s a relative drop in the bucket. But It has become a game of inches in 2020. Studios are not making money. Movie theaters are struggling to stay afloat. The fate of exhibition hangs in the balance. The hope has been that 2021 will bring with it green pastures.
However, as lockdowns begin to rack up as we move closer to the end of the year, that is beginning to feel more hopeful than probable. That is more than likely why Disney has restructured its media business to prioritize streaming. All any theater operators can do now is hope these lockdowns are temporary and effective. If they aren’t, things could continue to get a whole lot worse in a hurry. This news was previously reported by Deadline.