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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Beyond Oscars glitz, cinemas face uncertain future

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Beyond Oscars glitz, cinemas face uncertain future
Beyond Oscars glitz, cinemas face uncertain future

As Hollywood prepares to celebrate the year's best films, many movie theaters are struggling to reopen after a year with no income, and some have shut down for good.

This report produced by Yahaira Jacquez.

This is the historic San Francisco theater where Maryo Mogannam had some of his first dates with his wife.

Mogannam: "Lots of James Bond movies here." The marquee of the CineArts at the Empire theater, which had been showing movies since the silent film era, is now blank, and cardboard and paper cover the box office window.

It served notice in February that it was permanently closing after many months of lockdowns, news that hit Mogannam hard.

Mogannam: "I guess there's just a certain affinity, and I have a certain attachment to this theater because I grew up with it.

It's kind of like losing part of the community when you lose a theater like this." As vaccinated Americans emerge from their homes, they also may find their neighborhood theater is not there to greet them.

Following a year of closures, theaters face unpaid rent plus media companies' focus on drawing customers to streaming services.

But those making the films in Hollywood - some of whom will be at the 93rd Academy awards on Sunday - want cinemas to thrive.

Including director James Cameron, who made 'Avatar,' the highest-grossing film of all time.

"When you watch something on streaming, the other people in the room with you are welcome to interject, to pause, to go to the bathroom, to text, to do other things.

It's the only place where we literally make a pact with ourselves to go and spend two to three hours in a focused enjoyment of the art piece... in the movie theater, you have the complete experience as the artist intended it and that will always be sacred." Like Cameron, industry leaders project optimism, forecasting a big rebound after restrictions ease and studios unleash new blockbusters.

For Mogannam, his beloved theater won't be there to experience a pop, if there is one.

"I remember this theater when it was a single-screen theater where everyone came in and it was one screen, one audience." He says during those days, the theater was almost always 'full.'

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