Popular Forbes Film critic and reporter Scott Mendelson recently discussed his belief that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the failure to contain it will be to blame if movie theaters continue to shut down en masse.
In the wake of widespread movie theater shut downs, particularly the closure of Regal Movies theaters across The United States “until further notice,” Mendelson took to his personal Twitter page to assert that “If movie theaters don’t survive, it will be due to the pandemic & those (especially in America) that failed to contain it, period.”
“It wasn’t streaming, it wasn’t the studios, it wasn’t the theaters “failing to adapt,” he continued. “It was a plague that led to a year w/no new blickbusters [sic].”
While Mendelson’s claim is slightly hyperbolic, as the year has still seen the release of large-budget productions such as Tenet, Mulan, Sonic the Hedgehog, Bad Boys for Life, and Birds of Prey, and originally planned to see the theatrical debuts of films including Dune, Black Widow, and Godzilla vs. Kong, the existence of these projects does not negate the very real financial impact caused by the ongoing closures.
Mendelson then described the outbreak of COVID-19 as “an unplanned and unexpected event that led to no new products being released for a business that relies entirely on those products.”
He then slightly criticized how these closures resulted from ”governmental demands that their businesses be closed sans any financial assistance.”
“Yes they, like many businesses, had a thin margin, but theatrical moviegoing earned $42.5 billion in revenue last year ,” Mendelson argued. “If the theaters don’t survive, it won’t be because TENET wasn’t popular enough or MULAN went to Disney+.”
He concluded his thoughts by suggesting that the death of movie theaters “will be because unforeseen circumstances which were not successfully fixed (due to arguable willful US government negligence)” and declaring that “everything else is trivia and a distraction.”
It is unclear whether Mendelson’s issue is specifically with the government’s response to the pandemic or their failure to provide additional and ongoing economic assistance to businesses impacted by pandemic-related shut downs.
Mendelson is not alone in his doomsday prediction, as Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins recently offered her opinion that “If we shut this down, this will not be a reversible process,” and warned that “we could lose movie theater-going forever” in response to questions regarding the possible streaming release of her highly anticipated super hero sequel.
What is your opinion on Mendelson’s argument? Do you agree that COVID-19 would be the only reason theaters would go completely extinct? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!