Movie Theaters in NYC Go Dark as Superstorm Hurricane Sandy Approaches
With all public transportation shutting down at 7 p.m. Sunday, virtually all theaters are locking their doors early and sending employees home until Tuesday.
Sunday box office grosses for New York City -- the second biggest moviegoing market in the country after Los Angeles -- will take a hit as almost all theaters close their doors by late afternoon and remain dark throughout Monday because of approaching superstorm Hurricane Sandy.
With all public transportation in the city ceasing operation at 7 p.m. Sunday and mandatory evacuations ordered for low-lying areas, theater circuits don't want to risk leaving their employees stranded at work even though the hurricane -- nicknamed Frankenstorm -- isn't expected to strike the mid-Atlantic until Monday or early Tuesday.
AMC Theaters took the swiftest action, and stopped selling tickets for movies starting at 3 p.m. or after on Sunday. The giant exhibitor also announced its New York theaters would remain closed on Monday. Theaters on Long Island also will be dark.
AMC operates nine multiplexes throughout the city, including the Empire 25 in Times Square, the busiest cinema in the country. Updates as to which AMC theaters will be open in the NY area can be found on http://www.amctheatres.com/sandy.
Clearview Cinemas and City Cinemas, both of which operate multiple theaters, also decided to close their doors by late afternoon. Ditto for the Angelika Film Center.
AMC rival Regal, which likewise operates nine theaters in the city, stayed open a bit later but also closed most of its locations by 9 p.m. Sunday. Regal theaters will stay closed Monday, those in New York, Long Island and coastal areas of New Jersey.
It's not clear yet how much of a bite the theater closures will take out of the overall weekend, since the weekend was already soft. Films hurt most by the New York slowdown include new offering Cloud Atlas, which is playing like an arthouse film.
Moviegoing from Washington, D.C., to Connecticut will be impacted by the storm beginning Monday, with theaters in the hardest hit areas sure to close.