It should come as no surprise at this point that I’m unequivocally pro-movie theater. Even as the pandemic raged, I made my way to the theater multiple times. I knew why many didn’t, and I hold nothing against them, but I couldn’t stay away.
Last week, I wrote about how exciting it was to see a substantial crowd at the movies for “A Quiet Place Part II.” This weekend, I’ll be going to see “In the Heights,” a film that is made to look big. At no point did I consider seeing it on anything but a massive screen.
There is, however, the opportunity for people to watch “In the Heights” at home as soon as they finish reading this column. And, for comfort’s sake, I can see the case being made for watching this movie on HBO Max from the couch.
But in the case of “In the Heights,” a musical that’s been waiting to be released for a year, it feels right for this to be a mass pilgrimage to the theater for average and obsessed moviegoers alike. Not every high-profile movie coming out, such as Pixar’s “Luca,” will get a theatrical release, so we should collectively take advantage of the chances we do have to go to the movies.
It looks like this pilgrimage is already happening. A poll from Fandango indicated that 96% of pre-ordered tickets to see “In the Heights” coincide with the buyer’s first trip to a theater since the pandemic took hold over a year ago. That’s exciting, but also a clearer, statistical portrayal of how much damage has been done to theaters over the past year. Honestly. I’m surprised how many still survive.
The important point here is that the theaters aren’t out of the dark quite yet. It’ll take a massive box office swing in 2021 and beyond to make up for the lost year of 2020. Let’s do our part this summer to get the ball rolling. It’s been a quietly excellent summer for film, but the sound of people moving again may reach a crescendo when “In the Heights” is projected at a place near you. Check back next week to see how it goes for me.
Sam Zavada is a copy editor with The Standard-Speaker in Hazleton. He previously served as the news clerk at The Standard-Speaker, working with the obituaries and the community and lifestyle pages. Sam’s work in print dates back to his time at King’s College, where he spent two years as the editor in chief of the school’s newspaper, The Crown. Earlier in his time with The Crown, he worked as a staff writer and the entertainment manager. Contact him at email@example.com.