The movie theater experience falls victim to the pandemic as local Regal Shadowood closing indicates

The Regal Shadowood in western unicorporated Boca Raton has been shut down as a result of Covid-19.

The Regal Shadowood in western unicorporated Boca Raton has been shut down as a result of Covid-19.

With the lockdown for the Covid-19 pandemic, most movie theaters across the country have been shut down. As a result, most every movie’s release has been delayed or has been released through streaming platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. 

As a result, Regal Theaters, the country’s second largest theater chain, recently closed its doors indefinitely, bringing up the possibility that the theater-going experience as we know it may become a thing of the past. This is becoming even more of a possibility considering the recent startling increase in coronavirus cases nationwide.

One of the 526 Regal Theaters to be shut down was the Regal Shadowood in the Shadowood Square on the northeast corner of Glades Road and State Road 7, a very popular theater western unincorporated Boca Raton. 

Cineworld, the company that owns Regal Theaters, decided to close down theaters after the delay of the release of the film No Time to Die, the latest James Bond movie. Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger recently stated that closing the theaters was “not a decision we made lightly.” Unfortunately, it does not look like Regal is planning on opening their doors until after this pandemic, and it is uncertain whether they will be able to afford to open all of their theaters again. 

The possible demise of movie theaters is also being hastened by the ever-growing popularity of streaming apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, where one can watch almost anything for cheaper than a night out at a theater. 

On the other hand, the movie theater experience that many people long for includes watching a blockbuster production on a giant screen while enjoying a tub of buttery popcorn and a box of candy. But, is that experience worth the risk of being closed into a room with a couple hundred strangers in the age of Covid-19? 

A very unscientific poll taken by The Torch indicates that most people would be fine going back to the theater after it reopens, regardless of the risks. One former Regal Shadowood customer requesting to remain anonymous said, “Some of my best memories are at Shadowood, and I hope it reopens soon so I can make more.”

Yet, even though these common viewers say they would be fine going back, not everyone agrees. Some people would rather wait for the movie to release to streaming services such as Disney+ and AppleTV+ that are releasing new movies straight to the app, bypassing the movie theaters. Essentially, families are able to bring the movie theater to their own house, and watch from the comfort of their own couch. 

Bill and Ted: Face the Music is an example of one such film that was released to both theaters and streaming apps. The movie made triple the amount of money from streaming services than at the theater box office. One Regal Shadowood regular added, “Watching a movie at home instead of a theater is easy, cheap, and you can watch it with your dog.” 

As a result of Covid-19, we may be seeing the return of the popularity of drive-in theaters. Once very popular, drive-in theaters allow moviegoers to watch their favorite film from their cars while parked in front of a large movie screen. Drive-ins were very popular in the 1950s and 60s, but when VHS came out in the 70s, drive-in theaters rapidly reduced in number, and only about 300 are left from the 4,000 at its peak. However, they could rise in popularity again with the public still yearning for a movie theater-type experience with a reduced risk of contracting Covid-19.

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