We know the Coronavirus has struck the global economy hard, but it looks like there is going to be some consolation for people having to stick out this pandemic if NATO has anything to say about it. Once the restrictions of social distancing have been lifted, movie theaters are poised to offer audiences movies they can see for free.

With COVID-19 shutting down theaters, many employees have been laid off or are going without pay and many movie studios have decided to have their new movies released digitally first.

NATO (The National Association of Theatre Owners) is seeing firsthand what happens when the business is facing a total and complete shutdown. The association has lobbied Congress to gain funds and loans to make sure they stay in business as the pandemic continues.

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NATO Wants To Make Movies Free For A Limited Time

nato vs frozen 2

NATO hopes to fill seats and not Disney+ subscriptions after the crisis ends.

When speaking with Screen Rant, NATO’s communication officer, Patrick Corcoran suggested that the theaters may open for free when things begin to return to normal. It looks like this idea is taking its cues from China, where theaters that are able to reopen are doing so without any cost to customers. This plan would be a good way to remind people of the excitement and fun of going to see movies on the big screen.

One of the downsides to this social distancing for the theaters is that viewing habits have started changed for many people. More consumers are now doing their movie-watching from home, with all the streaming services out there. Disney+ has seen their subscriptions triple since school closings and releasing Frozen 2 on the service sooner than expected.

Television and movie productions have come to a standstill as well, which means the catalog of content available on services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video is becoming the working lifeline to entertainment for everyone in isolation.

This will be a tough battle for movie theaters when things get better. Can the theaters bounce back once they reopen, or is this the beginning of the end for them? Stay with The Illuminerdi for all the latest news on the entertainment industry.