New York and Los Angeles have both taken the decision to close cinemas, to stop gatherings of people in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Both Bill de Blasio and Eric Garcetti, the mayors of New York and Los Angeles, have ordered that cinemas, along with nightclubs, bars, small theatres and concert venues be closed from tomorrow.
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Tweeting last night, de Blasio said: “This is not a decision I make lightly.
“These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.
“We will come through this, but until we do, we must make whatever sacrifices necessary to help our fellow New Yorkers.”
Nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses, and concert venues must all close. The order will go into effect Tuesday, March 17 at 9:00 AM.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 16, 2020
Multiplexes elsewhere in the US remain open for now, but audiences are now shrinking, with the box office haul last weekend being the lowest in more than 20 years.
Receipts of just $55.3 million nationwide made it the worst earning weekend since September 2000.
The AMC and Regal chains have already cut capacity by 50% to avoid overcrowding and allow a degree of social distancing among patrons.
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“The impact of this unprecedented situation was apparent across many industries,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Comscore, told Variety.
“Of course, movie theatres, amidst reduced capacity and an ever-evolving set of circumstances, had a very challenging weekend.”
The historically poor performance comes as a host of movies, including new Bond film No Time To Die and Disney's live-action remake of Mulan, have had their release dates postponed.