GOLETA, Calif. — Many moviegoers made their way into Camino Real Cinemas on Thursday to watch some major Hollywood blockbusters.
Aidan Dunn watched Black Window with two family friends.
“It feels so good to be in the darkroom with the big screen just in front of you,” he said. “It feels so good to finally be back.”
Brandon Whited enjoyed Fast & Furious 9 with his father.
“The sound, just the whole experience is so different in the theater,” he said. “Especially for action movies, we prefer to come here.”
This weekend marked a major milestone, as Black Widow grossed $80mm in North America, the largest opening weekend since December 2019.
While the road to recovery seems a bit brighter, there is a long way to go to achieve pre-pandemic business.
“We have seen an increase in attendance but not to the caliber that we had back in 2019,” Metropolitan Theatres manager Sal Garcia said.
Since five of its Santa Barbara based theaters, business at Metropolitan Theatres is down 70% compared to the same period in 2019.
“I think people are scared,” Dunn said. “They don’t want to come back and watch movies again with other people.”
Yet, the biggest challenge isn’t COVID-19 concerns.
On the contrary, it’s competing against streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max and Disney Plus.
“Domestically you make $80 million for Black Widow in the theaters, then you make $60 million on Disney Plus,” Garcia said. “A lot of that could have contributed to the theater experience.”
COVID-19 also brought about a Hollywood hiatus, causing a delay in the release of big-budget films.
“It’s definitely a struggle, a lot of large movies aren’t being released,” Garcia concluded. “It’s definitely impacting our theaters.”
More major blockbusters will be released soon and Metropolitan Theatres hopes that this brings back moviegoers in the months ahead.
To book a movie ticket at Metropolitan Theatres, you can click here.