Lack of films causing difficulties for movie theaters to rebound

Movie Theater

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- First, movie theaters were forced to shut down, then operate under capacity restrictions, and now they’re facing a shortage of new movies.

“The film product, that's our lifeblood,” said Chris Johnson, CEO of Classic Cinemas based in Downers Grove. “So the idea that we're able to open at full capacity and all that is fantastic, but then we need to get the product on the screen.”

With movies like “A Quiet Place Part 2” and “Cruella” slowly trickling into theaters, Johnson told WBBM Newsradio that Classic Cinemas is currently doing about 50 percent of the business it saw in 2019.

However, he expects more movies, and moviegoers, will return to the big screen in the coming weeks.

“Today we have ‘In the Heights’, which is bringing out this whole new group of folks that are going to enjoy this extremely high-rated and enjoyable movie,” Johnson said. “There was a poll from Fandango that said 96 percent of the people that are excited for ‘In the Heights’, this will be their first time back since the pandemic started.”

Another sign that things are looking up; a sizable splurge on concessions.

“The one thing that we've noticed is people buy more popcorn, more treats, and more anything than they ever did,” Johnson added.

Other anticipated summer films include “Black Widow”, “Space Jam: A New Legacy”, and Disney’s “Jungle Cruise.”