Big blockbuster releases hinge on COVID-19 numbers internationally, says Laurieton Theatre owner David McGowan

LAURIETON THEATRE REOPENS: Film industry needs China and US to flatten the curve. Photo: Liz Langdale.
LAURIETON THEATRE REOPENS: Film industry needs China and US to flatten the curve. Photo: Liz Langdale.

It's been more than three months since a movie was shown at the Laurieton Theatre, but that will change on Friday, July 3.

The theatre is preparing for its first opening back after the coronavirus pandemic closed venues across the nation.

The NSW Government has announced that all businesses including cinemas, theatres, performance halls, theme parks and show grounds can reopen from July 1.

Theatre owner and operator David McGowan said he'd been busy turning a negative into a positive by doing screen and venue maintenance.

"I've maintained all of the projectors, done a bit of painting and there were enough things to keep me busy," he laughed. "I turned it round into an advantage."

"We will be holding a soft opening because there is a lot of uncertainty in our industry at the moment. I'll come back in with films like Judy (2019) with Renee Zellweger and The Gentlemen (2019)."

LAURIETON THEATRE: Responsible business practices against COVID-19. Photo: Liz Langdale.

LAURIETON THEATRE: Responsible business practices against COVID-19. Photo: Liz Langdale.

Mr McGowan said the most important factors were now managing COVID-19 risks and ensuring customers were coming to a safe and secure venue.

"We need to follow these rules we have in place nationally at the moment because if we don't we may fall into the same situation as Victoria (with the new cases they have had)," he said.

"I'm coming in with reduced prices for a few weeks because many residents are happy we are coming back and looking forward to coming in.

"There is no dress rehearsal on this and we don't know what will happen. I'm sure everything will work out if we all follow the rules."

Mr McGowan said upcoming box office dates would largely rely on when cinema restrictions eased in America and China, because changes in the Australian market would have little effect.

"We haven't got control of the film situation. The blockbusters that multiplexes need to survive will not be released if those venues in America and China are not fully open," he said.

"I believe a number of films such as Mulan (July) and perhaps even Tenet (August) will move release dates. If there are shuttered theatres in America and China, they will not go out with these $250 million films.

"All eyes are on these countries to get it under control."

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