Could a vaccine requirement entice movie-goers back to theaters? Maybe, expert says

LOS ANGELES (KNX) — New research shows the battle to bounce back from the pandemic is continuously uphill for movie theaters and studios are doing everything they can to compete with streaming services amid the ongoing pandemic.

David Herrin, the director and founder of the film research company The Quorum, is one of the “reluctant viewers” that movie theaters are trying so hard to entice back.

Podcast Episode
KNX All Local
The city of LA starts enforcing its vaccine mandate for businesses; LA County health officials talk about the threat from the Omicron variant; Four kids under 12 are found shot dead at a home in Lancaster
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

“Certainly what we saw with the delta variant is that some behaviors have changed,” Herrin said, explaining that his team recently completed a study looking into why the move back to cushy seats and concessions has been so slow.

Right now, 49% of people who used to go to movie theaters are no longer bothering, Herrin said. But it’s not just because of pandemic fears.

“Overall people felt as though the movie-going experience wasn’t that great,” Herrin said. “If you throw on top of that this umbrella problem of safety concerns — then all of a sudden you’ve got these people who went from previous film-goers to former film-goers.”

So what’s a theater to do?

Some study participants said that a vaccine requirement would make them feel safer in theaters.

“The idea of wearing a mask in a movie has always been unrealistic...and quite frankly you don’t want to be taken out of the movie policing your neighbors around you,” Herrin said. “I think that’s why a vaccine mandate adds a layer of comfort.”

Cost was another underlying factor pointed out by Herrin, who said right now the whole industry needs to be cut a little slack after an incredibly difficult 18 months (making price cuts nearly impossible right now).

Ultimately, movie-going will all boil down to personal choice and whatever punches the new omicron variant throws our way, Herrin said.

Follow KNX 1070 Newsradio
Twitter  | Facebook | Instagram