You know what this reminds me of? The lyrics from the classic rock song Fly Like an Eagle:
Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping… Into the future.
Except replace time with release dates:
Release dates keep on slipping, slipping, slipping… Into the future._
When will this end? When theaters can be packed. There’s no way for that to happen until we have herd immunity. What we need are multiple Covid-19 vaccines and an educated public. (Some competence in the White House wouldn’t hurt.)
The most recent movie release casualty came with the news that the spice won’t flow this year since Denis Villeneuve’s Dune has been pushed back until October 2021. Black Widow, No Time To Die, Batman, etc., have all pushed back — again. Wait a few days and we’ll probably have another new release date for Wonder Woman 1984.
Regal Cinemas — the second largest theater chain in the USA — recently announced that over 7,000 movie screens will go dark this weekend, as the theater chain said it will shut down all 536 locations on Thursday, October 8th. AMC Theaters announced that they plan to keep 80% of their theaters open… For now.
Opinion, Herd Immunity, and the CoVid Vaccine
The movie industry faces a real chicken and egg situation. Theaters can’t stay open without blockbusters, and blockbusters can’t release unless there are theaters open. It comes down to the fact that not enough people feel safe going to sit in an enclosed room with strangers for 2+ hours just for entertainment. Plus, there are so many people out of work, or fear that they will be soon, that the cost of a few movie tickets is too steep a price to pay.
Unless there is a Christmas miracle and people flock back to the few theaters that are open to watch whatever they can, then the theater chain industry is in for a very rough ride. To get past Covid-19 we need herd immunity.
Epidemiologists estimate that we need between 50-90% of the population to be immune before that can happen. The reason there is such a wide range in the estimate is that herd immunity also depends on social factors, such as social distancing, mask wearing, etc. Since we’re talking about rebooting the theater industry we’re going to need a percentage along the high end of the scale, because sitting in a crowded theater is not social distancing. And we know that there are too many ignorant selfish people who refuse to wear a mask, especially in a dark theater where it’s easy for them to get away with it.
If we aim for 80% to get a level of herd immunity where social distancing can be relaxed, then we need the combination of natural immunity — those who contracted Covid-19 and survived — and vaccinated immunity to surpass that 80% target. Currently the national level of immunity is less than 10%, with a wide regional range. If we double that to 20% and everyone else gets vaccinated then we’ll make it, assuming the vaccine’s efficacy is 70%. Unfortunately, only 51% of people surveyed said they would get vaccinated.
The good news is that in this scenario we don’t need everyone to get vaccinated. The bad news is that we do need 85% to get vaccinated. That’s a 34% gap to make up.
What we need is a system in place where everyone can take a test to check for Covid-19 antibodies. If you have the antibodies that means you either had Covid-19 and developed the antibodies naturally, or you got vaccinated and the vaccine was effective for you. With the antibodies then you get a card or something that indicates you’re immune and so you can go to the theater, restaurants, bars, etc. If you don’t have that card then you can’t.
Since a system like this would be a challenge to pull of in a country like China it’s pretty much impossible here in the USA.
Assuming everything goes well, we have multiple vaccines that are moderately effective, and Covid-19 doesn’t mutate into something that sends us back to the starting line then maybe, just maybe, it will be safe to return to theaters in 2022.
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Creator and developer of the RunPee app. When something doesn’t work right in the app it’s pretty much his fault. 🙂
Aspiring author. Would like to finish his “Zombie Revelations” trilogy if he could break away for working on RunPee and the cottage he’s building for RunPee Mom.