We'll need to forego activities we once took for granted, like going to the movies, as the government tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
We'll need to forego activities we once took for granted, like going to the movies, as the government tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus. iStock

Virus pandemic: Can I still go to the movies?

TYPICALLY, Thursday is the best day of the week for movie buffs. It's when most new films are released in cinemas across the country.

But with the federal government yesterday cracking down even further on mass gatherings - reducing its advice from avoiding events of more than 500 people to those of more than 100 - the doors of some cinema chains are already closing.

Palace Cinemas has announced it will temporarily shut all of its theatres until further notice.

"We've made the difficult decision to temporarily close all Palace Cinema locations from Thursday the 19th of March for an indefinite period to protect both our staff and patrons," the company said yesterday.

"We sincerely thank you all for your patronage and support during this unprecedented time and our excellent staff for their efforts and dedication under challenging circumstances. Rest assured we will be back offering sublime entertainment and a place to indulge and escape when it is safe to do so."

Interior of Birch, Carrol and Coyle Maroochydore cinemas. Photo: Jason Dougherty / Sunshine Coast Daily
This may be how many cinemas will look in the coming weeks as Aussies self-isolate or go into quarantine. Jason Dougherty

Hoyts and Dendy Cinemas have both placed a limit on the number of bookings for screenings, a move which will help patrons maintain suggested social distancing measures while still seeing films on the big screen.

But the country's biggest cinema chain, Event Cinemas, has vowed to keep its doors open - for now.

"We are monitoring and assessing but at this stage it is business as normal," an Event Cinemas spokeswoman told News Regional yesterday.

The Current War will open today as planned but the Sydney-filmed Peter Rabbit 2, which was supposed to open today, but has been pushed back to September 10.

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Universal Pictures has already confirmed Trolls World Tour will not open next week, but instead on September 17.

Disney is yet to postpone the release of its new Pixar film Onward, which is already out in the US, and Roadshow says The Personal History of David Copperfield is still planned for release next week as well.

March's two big blockbusters No Time to Die and Mulan have both also been postponed to later in the year, while Marvel has just announced it will postpone the release of its latest superhero film Black Widow.

In contrast, a Brisbane cinema chain is taking a different approach for those with cash to splash.

Five Star Cinemas, which operates cinemas in New Farm, Red Hill and the CBD, contacted members and subscribers to say it was offering "book a private screening in our premium cinema for $250".

Nice if you can afford it, but most of us will be better off at home watching a movie on our TV screens.