BRAUN: Will movie theatres bounce back?

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Is there any other industry that’s had so many near-death experiences?

In your grandma’s day, it was television that spelled doom for movies. Then came home video and that boom in home theatres, then streaming and digital technology, and now it’s COVID.

Who needs theatres when movies come to us at home during COVID?

And yet, here we are, pining for the big screen experience and real movie theatre popcorn.

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Seeing a film in a movie theatre is not just an economic transaction.  People gathering together to tell stories is an age-old practice, and sitting with strangers in a darkened movie theatre is just another version of that communal human experience.

The social and cultural importance of moviegoing may explain the theatres’ capacity to bounce back time after time.

Certainly Jacob has remained upbeat throughout a terrible year for the industry, but he understands better than most the inimitable experience of seeing films on the big screen. With an audience.

“Going to a movie theatre is a great Canadian pastime,” he said in a recent interview.

When Tenet finally opened in late August, “Canadians came out in force to show how much they missed seeing movies on the big screen.

“From a safety perspective, guests felt comfortable.”

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Jacob stays positive by looking at countries ( China, Russia, South Korea, parts of Europe) where theatres have been able to reopen and business is good. He knows that time will come here, too.

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