Movie theaters in Los Angeles -- the largest U.S. cinema theater market -- could re-open as early as this coming Monday at 25% capacity, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced on Thursday.
One key measure shows the state is on track to administer 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to underserved populations. In addition, a county needs to report fewer than seven COVID-19 infections a day per 100,000 people.
New York City opened its movie theaters March 5 -- also at 25% capacity -- as a result of lower COVID-19 case counts.
New York City is the second-biggest market for movies in terms of U.S. domestic box office, according to Comscore, with a 7.4% share. Los Angeles is No. 1 at 8.9%.
Movie studios have been slowly ramping up national TV advertising in anticipation of possible re-openings.
Over the most recent 30-day period, February 9 through March 10, there have been 18,193 national TV airings for movies, according to estimates from iSpot.tv. Many of those commercials also touted streaming availability. This amounted to some 4.9 billion impressions.
The previous 30-day period, January 9 through February 9, had 9,003 national TV airings and 3.5 billion total impressions.
Although Los Angeles movie theaters can open early next week, many will probably remain closed until Friday, March 19, as theaters need to hire back staff and put in place pandemic cleaning and distancing protocols.