For its part, the National Association of Theater Owners put out a statement with a sober but generally optimistic longterm appraisal, saying that based on the economics for major blockbuster movies “it is our understanding from discussions with distributors that the vast majority of deferred releases will be rescheduled for theatrical release as life returns to normal.”
There are, like virtually everything else related to this period, a lot of things we simply don’t know.
Under one scenario, people who have already become increasingly accustomed to cocooning at home with various streaming services might slide farther along those lines, faster, going forward.
A third outcome, perhaps, falls somewhere in between. Consumers have already grown accustomed to the convenience of seeing movies — especially certain kind of movies — at home. Plus, they have a greater variety and abundance of series, documentaries and more to scratch various itches than ever before.
At the same time, certain genres are made to be consumed with an audience in a darkened theater — feeding off shared reactions — with horror, action and certain comedies foremost among them.
Although there is no direct precedent for the current cultural upheaval, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, author Haynes Johnson appeared on ABC’s “Nightline” and was asked whether the US would ever return to the same level of public participation. Sounding a reassuring note, Johnson said that after a time, society would “go back to our delights and diversions.”
The question to be answered at a later date is to what extent and where we’ll consume those diversions. While those who follow Hollywood continue to speculate, the truth is that everyone right now is in the dark.