The number of people who will go to a movie theater during COVID-19

“They call him the “In-and-Out Bandit” because meticulous thief Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) has stolen $9 million from small-town banks while managing to keep his identity a secret. Tom decides to make a fresh start by coming clean about his criminal past, only to be double-crossed by two ruthless FBI agents.”

That’s the actual synopsis for an upcoming film I won’t be able to hate-watch on the big screen. Thanks, COVID.

If you’re a bitter voyeur like myself or a lonely octogenarian, you probably share in my anguish.

Of all the establishments awaiting normalcy, movie theaters likely have the most adjusting to do from an engineering standpoint. That isn’t to say the public isn’t eager to get back to the box office.

A new survey conducted by the folks over at Atom Tickets reports that 74% of Americans will be ready to return to theatres as early as one month from now.

“We’re encouraged by this new survey and believe it’s a good sign for the movie industry. Our data also showed that eagerness to return to the movies has more to do with how often you went to the movies before the pandemic rather than by age or region,” Matthew Bakal, chairman and co-founder of Atom Tickets, explained in a media statement. “I’m pleased to see the heightened interest in safety measures including pre-ordering tickets and concessions. We know people want to enjoy the movies together with friends and family and will do so responsibly.”

Forty-percent would go to the movies right now if they could, while a modest 15% would rather wait for a COVID-19 vaccine. Less than 1% don’t intend to ever go back to theaters.

For whatever reasons, these numbers represent a dramatic leap compared to the figures reported back in July.

Then, the same survey determined that only 25% of Americans felt comfortable ever going back to the movies, and a little more than half thought they could do so by the end of August.

This time around 87% of respondents surveyed contend that the ability to purchase tickets digitally from their own phone or laptop alleviates a lot of their coronavirus concerns.

Nearly half will be more tempted to go back to theatres with the release of new blockbusters, namely Black WidowWonder Woman 1984 and No Time to Die. In 2021, moviegoers were eager to see The Eternals from Marvel Studios, The Batman and Jurassic World: Dominion.

Sixty-eight percent said they would support ordering food from a concession stand from their devices as well.

To facilitate consumer comforts, the authors of the new survey asked movies goers about the kinds of things they would need to feel safe in front of the silver screen.

Thirty-four percent of the survey pool occasioned limited seating capacity as a primary condition, 30% would require staff to wear face masks, and 13% want to see a spotless theater to quiet their transmission fears.

As far as their own efforts were concerned, 85% of the August respondents pool said that they plan on wearing face masks with or without a sanctioned mandate while indoors.

The movie referenced in the intro is titled, Honest Thief and the tagline is “Never Steal a man’s second chance.” Oof.