Georgia governor wants to reopen theaters Monday (April 27)

By Alexandra Heilbron on April 24, 2020 | 6 Comments

Spike Lee InstagramGeorgia theaters opening Monday? Spike Lee says “Hell To Da Naw.”

Governor Brian Kemp announced plans to begin reopening non-essential businesses in Georgia, including movie theaters, on Monday, April 27, 2020.

However, he’s getting a lot of pushback from studios and filmmakers with ongoing productions in Georgia, such as Marvel movies and the series The Walking Dead, who don’t want their cast or crew members taking any risks while the coronavirus is still spreading.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines say that when a state has experienced 14 days of declining cases of COVID-19, they can begin reopening their economies. However, Georgia has not achieved that goal.

According to CNN, Georgia is ranked 11th in regards to coronavirus cases in the United States, with 18,900 cases and 733 deaths as of April 20.

The theater owners questioned about Kemp’s announcement didn’t seem eager to reopen. Independent theater owner Brandt Gully told Variety, “We are not going to open on Monday, and we don’t have any plans as to when we would. Even if we wanted to, we wouldn’t be ready. It just doesn’t feel socially responsible to me to go out there to try to grab a few bucks.”

Atlanta Plaza Theatre owner Chris Escobar added, “I don’t want to be that movie theater, where the outbreak in Atlanta is all related to the f–king Plaza Theatre.” He also spoke about the lack of movies, with most of the bigger releases having been moved forward to later dates in 2020 and even 2021, and the smaller movies releasing straight to VOD and Digital.

Theater chains such as Cinemark laid off their employees in March and don’t plan to reopen until mid-July at the earliest, in time for Warner Bros.’ July 17 release of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller Tenet and Disney’s Mulan on July 24. However, release dates have continued to change weekly as it becomes evident the pandemic is not slowing down.

The most renowned filmmaker speaking out about Georgia possibly opening their movie theaters has been Atlanta-born director Spike Lee (pictured above in a post to his Instagram page). He told Variety in an email: “Open Movie Theatres Now? Hell To Da Naw. I Got Alot More Movies To Make, Not Rollin’ Da Dice Wit’ Da Only Life I Got. TESTING. TESTING And Mo’ TESTING.”

The United States currently has 912, 838 cases of coronavirus and has experienced 51,607 deaths as of today (April 24) — over twice as many deaths and many more cases than Spain, which sits in second spot for cases at 219,764 total, with 22,524 deaths. The world total now stands at 196,412 deaths from the coronavirus. ~Alexandra Heilbron

Comments & Discussion

  1. Marion • April 24, 2020 @ 3:52 PM

    Are they crazy? That’s insane. Love the quote from Spike Lee though!

  2. Sami • April 24, 2020 @ 10:16 PM

    The deaths in the United States are out of control. They’re now twice as much as Italy as for deaths, and they’re climbing at a rate that’s unfathomable. Does the governor think he needs to cull the population of his state? That’s the only reason I can think of for this moronic decision. Thankfully there are much smarter people in his state than him.

  3. Vicki • April 25, 2020 @ 9:40 AM

    Not opening until mid July for new releases? That’s crazy. Why not open at appropriate time showing classic movies? East Coast areas, like DC, have history of good success showing those on the big screen. Good exposure for younger customers who’ve only had TV screens to see these. A lot of those films (1930’s – present) are better than new releases! My college age student reserved tickets two months in advance to make sure she got in!

  4. Shannon • April 25, 2020 @ 10:56 PM

    It’s only one day later and the death rate in the U.S. is now over 54,000. Sure, they should open all theatres, if they want that number to skyrocket. Or they could protect their citizens and keep everything closed until their numbers start to go down.

  5. Jordan • April 27, 2020 @ 9:20 PM

    Confirmed cases in Georgia stands at 24,218 today. It’ll be interesting to see if it skyrockets in a week or so now that they’ve opened certain non-essential businesses.

  6. Ashley • May 7, 2020 @ 10:31 PM

    Hopefully all the racists, like the ones who murdered Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February, congregate and give each other Coronavirus.

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