Movies

Can Blockbuster Films Drive People Back to Movie Theaters? Local Cinema Owner Hopes So

The owner of West Newton Cinema hopes 'Godzilla vs. Kong' signals renewed interest in theaters, but he worries about streaming.

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Movie fans at Showcase Cinema in Randolph, Massachusetts, were ready to be back inside the theater for a big-time blockbuster with "Godzilla vs. Kong" just released.

“I’m going to see it for a second time,” said Ryan O’Toole of Easton. “I already saw it this morning on HBO Max, I’m looking forward to seeing the IMAX experience.”

David Bramante, who owns the West Newton Cinema, hopes the movie signals renewed interest in theaters, but worries about streaming.

“I don’t think it helps theaters,” said Bramante. “I don’t think it helps the movie. It takes away a little bit of that excitement and anticipation of going to a theater and seeing a movie.”

For many moviegoers, they want to be in the theater for all the action despite capacity restrictions and coronavirus protocols still in place.

“I had the option to see this in streaming,” said John O’Keefe of Pembroke. “But it’s one of those movies I really wanted to see in a theater, I prefer the whole movie experience, I don’t want that to die.”

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It’s been a slow recovery for theaters, but as more people get vaccinated, and bigger movies start to debut on screens, that could push more people out of the house and into the cinema.

“Being able to hang out with friends and see a good movie it’s actually feeling really good right now,” said William Bauer, Jr. of Braintree.

But not everyone thinks this is the right time to be inside a cinema.

“I’m worried,” said Professor Ann Sheehy, a virologist at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.

She thinks people should hold off from indoor venues like movie theaters for a few more months.

“You’re in an enclosed space with people who may or may not be feeling well,” she said. “You don’t know who’s been vaccinated. You’re entering an enclosed setting with a lot of unknowns.”

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