Studios still need movie theaters, and they’re making the deals to prove it

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

During the course of the pandemic, the future of movie theaters looked grim. Cinema owners teetered on the edge of bankruptcy amid ongoing closures and lockdown orders, and streaming services introduced new release models that made clawing back theatrical exclusivity even harder for already struggling exhibitors. Theaters appeared to be facing an existential crisis, close to being snuffed out by a world that no longer needed them for distribution.

But as cinemas have begun to reopen their doors and feature films finally make their silver screen debuts following prolonged delays, the story has started to change. In recent months, a number of studio owners have struck deals with exhibitors — including Regal parent Cineworld, Cinemark, and A…

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