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Diving deeper: COVID-19 pandemic impacts movie industry

How coronavirus has affected the movie industry
Published: Aug. 2, 2020 at 3:00 PM CDT
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NORTHERN Ill. (WIFR) - There’s nothing like catching a film with a fresh bucket of popcorn, but the pandemic stole that luxury from us. A CEO with a larger movie chain admits there have been some major setbacks, but he remains optimistic for the future of the movie industry.

"I absolutely am positive that movie theaters will be back," says Classic Cinemas CEO Chris Johnson.

Johnson says the biggest setback for the movie industry is the money lost by theaters sitting idle and furloughing employees.

"We're really hoping congress passes the restart act which helps shuttered businesses, and then we're also borrowing from the bank and we're spending every last penny that we have," says Johnson.

But he says once the worst is behind them, they'll be alright.

“It’s just getting through it that’s tough,” says Johnson.

While movie theaters are in the process of reopening, many people are taking the advantage of drive-ins.

"It feels great being able to deliver this experience and open the drive-in, and the guests coming to see the movies, and everyone just really enjoys being out. Sometimes they say 'oh this is so great, it's like normal again'," says Midway Drive-In Owner Mike Kerz.

Midway Theater in Sterling is bustling these days. Kerz says drive-ins may help the movie industry, just like they did in the 50's. COVID-19 just made people more aware of them.

“It definitely has increased publicity and awareness for the drive in’s,” says Kerz.

Movie fans say they like heading out to the drive-in right now because it’s safe. “It’s a safe, nice, relaxing environment where you can come and have peace of mind,” says Kerz.

Since drive-ins are capturing a bigger audience during the pandemic, owners say they’ll offer shows while the weather permits. Midway Drive-In is open Friday and Saturdays. The box office opens at 7:00 p.m. and the first movie begins at sunset.

To see upcoming movies and purchase tickets visit themidwaydrivein.net

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