Coronavirus Outbreak: With movie halls shut, local theaters in US have lit up marquees with creative film titles

A handful of theaters in US have gone viral for displaying funny, thoughtful, and occasionally sentimental messages on their marquees during coronavirus lockdown.

FP Staff May 17, 2020 11:36:46 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: With movie halls shut, local theaters in US have lit up marquees with creative film titles

With the world at large trying to curb the spread of coronavirus, the entertainment industry is at the receiving end due of the lockdown with film releases delayed, productions at halt and movie theaters shut. Following the stay-at-home orders, cinema halls across the world have been shut for months now. From megaplexes to local single-screen independent theaters, the lights are off and the doors are shut.

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However, to spread a little joy in an otherwise bleak world, a handful of theaters in US have gone viral for displaying funny, thoughtful, and occasionally sentimental messages on their marquees. Local theaters across the country have been using their vintage, bright neon red signs to remind audiences of the movies they love and the pandemic they're facing.

Using classic films such as Back to the Future, When Harry Met Sally, and The Wizard of Oz as inspiration, the marquees feature encouraging messages and funny reminders about staying at home and social distancing guidelines. While watching a movie in an theater is an experience itself, a few marquees also reminding viewers about the OTT platforms and the comfort of watching a film from their homes.

Check out the post here

The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania has been accepting the wordplay submissions for its marquee from their social media followers. Michal Kortsarts, the theater’s marketing and communications director in an interview to Vanity Fair, says that it's a 'big event' to get the marquee changed. There have been so many that she’s started photoshopping different versions of the marquee, showing off winning submissions like “When Harry Met Sally on Zoom” and “The Social Distance Network” on the theater’s Instagram account.

“We’re really trying to scrutinize which titles we add to our virtual screening offerings to really match our mission,” said Kortsarts—which is “to celebrate the weird and celebrate the offbeat.”

However, the report also mentions that the theater has had to furlough concessions and hourly workers, about eight full-time staffers have been able to stay on board, working to make sure the theater can be reopened at any moment. In the meantime, the theater has been asking for donations and hosting a variety of quirky virtual screenings.

It's not just the smaller theaters struggling.

"Literally, we don't have a penny of revenue coming through the door," AMC CEO Adam Aron told CNN in March, noting the pandemic forced all of the company's theaters to close.

"Three weeks ago, AMC was an immensely healthy company and now with expenses out the door and no revenues, we are burning through cash."

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