Movie theaters reducing hours with no new releases on the horizon in October

The somewhat poor reception to 'Tenet' is making theaters rethink their strategy

Movie theaters in the U.S. are bracing for a difficult October as the coronavirus pandemic continues to bring low turnout and studios push major releases back.

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Following the news that comic book tentpoles “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Black Widow” would be pushed back to Dec. 25, 2020, and May 2021 respectively, theaters find themselves in the uncomfortable position of not having a new release to market around until Nov. 20, when Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond in “No Time to Die” is finally expected to drop.

Cinemark confirmed to FOX Business that it is evaluating reducing operating hours as well as days in light of the pandemic.

"Cinemark's reopening plan was thoughtfully and strategically designed with multiple contingencies in place to ensure we are able to be nimble and react as needed to the ever-changing environment," the company said in a statement to FOX Business.

It added: "That said, we will evaluate opportunities to align with demand, including reducing operating hours while we await new studio content to encourage theatrical moviegoing."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, theater chains across the country such as AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark are starting to limit the number of showtimes available for people to attend in an effort to cut costs amid the expected movie drought in October.

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Cinemark and Marcus Theaters are reportedly taking it a step further by closing some of their theaters entirely on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Theater chains across the country and reportedly cutting showtimes as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause low turnout. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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The decision comes after U.S. theaters were able to gauge public interest in returning to the movies in the time of COVID-19 after Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” dropped on Labor Day after experiencing delays as well.

What was expected to be a major box office hit of the summer has only pulled in $41.2 million from North American box offices, with just $3.4 million coming from the United States. This doesn’t do a lot to make up the reported $200 million budget for “Tenet.” With typically reliable box office drivers in New York and California still closed due to the pandemic, the future for new releases isn’t looking too appealing for studios to release movies, which doesn’t bode well for theater chains.

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However, THR notes that New York City and Los Angeles could reopen in the coming weeks, which is a glimmer of hope that remains in an otherwise dire situation.

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