Movie theaters will look vastly different if they survive COVID-19

By David Priest


The theater industry must change to survive. Here’s how movie theaters might look in the future.

A continuing, active independent theater scene:

Independent theaters often forge deeply personal connections with their customers, and while they’ve struggled during the pandemic, their loyal customer bases may be the key to their survival as bigger theaters fold or find new business models.

Subscriptions to traditional cineplexes:

Sure, companies like AMC hated the super cheap subscription-based app Moviepass, but the subscription model is an increasingly popular and time-tested method of ensuring revenue — some theaters in the UK have been using such services for more than a decade.

More drive-ins:

Drive-in theaters, which thrived in the ’50s and early ’60s, are already finding a second (or third) life amid the pandemic, thanks to the built-in social distancing and — for the reason many of them still survived before COVID-19 — nostalgia. The model for drive-in theaters differs from traditional cineplexes: Usually, they operate only during weekends, in the warm months and after dark. That means double features are the norm, and usually only the most popular movies find a home on their projectors.

A tech-giant takeover:

Tech and streaming giants like Apple, Amazon and Netflix have either considered buying theaters or already committed to doing so. While wholesale corporate takeovers are probably a long shot, Silicon Valley has the capital to buy out floundering theater franchises and incorporate them into their existing integrative business models — and doing so could dramatically reorient the movie theater landscape.


The pandemic limits people at home who are trying to avoid enclosed public space, therefore movie theaters, the industry that is one of the most suffered industries from the pandemic, needs to conform to the norms of this pandemic and make meaningful changes to cope with it. The article shows us some possible characteristics that post-pandemic or future movie theaters will have. The article provides many valuable methods based on business perspectives for the future development of movie theatres. The article also provides me with more insights regarding the path forward for movie theatres.