VERMILLION, South Dakota (KCAU) — For nearly two years now, movie theaters have struggled their way through the pandemic but have a newfound hope after seeing ticket sales for the latest Spider-Man movie soar.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” premiered in theaters the weekend before Christmas and from there has shattered multiple box-office records including having the second-largest opening weekend box office ever.
But for a small community-owned theater like the Coyote Twin, who sold bags of popcorn while their auditoriums were closed for the pandemic to make ends meet, large crowds coming back to theaters was a welcome sight.
“And then this summer, I 100 percent thought that streaming was going to put us out of business after the pandemic. I really thought, there were so many movies that were supposed to be a blockbuster like Black Widow. That was gonna be the thing to bring all the people back to the theater and then it had one good weekend and then it disappeared,” said executive director of the Vermillion Cultural Association, Shannon Cole.
Part of the reason a fellow Marvel movie “Black Widow” didn’t see as much success as Spider-Man is because it could be simultaneously streamed on Disney Plus while “NO WAY HOME” is exclusively in theaters for now.
The owner of Main Street Theatres, which runs the Royal 3 Cinema in Le Mars, said the trends in the industry should move back to what they were before.
“You’re going to see the streaming thing is all but going to stop in 2022. It was disastrous for the studios to release that way, piracy became rampant, you eliminated the largest piece of a revenue stream for a movie,” said Bill Barstow, owner of Main Street Theatres.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is currently on pace to be the third highest-grossing film of all time, something movie theater owners like Barstow never thought possible during these times.