Coming soon to a theater near you!

How long has it been since you last saw a movie in theaters? If recent analyses are anything to go by, it won't be much longer. According to Adam Barnhardt for Comic Book, a popular pop culture publication, 46% of movie-goers will be back in theaters within three months, and 72% would be comfortable returning within six months.

"Much of America," Barnhardt points out, is "reopened at least partially now," and it's projected that "anyone who wants a vaccination can have it by Independence Day." 

But wasn't the pandemic putting theaters out of business? ... Sort of.

Local chains have struggled, with Los Angeles' favorite ArcLight Cinemas announcing their permanent closure last week, and Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse declaring bankruptcy a month ago (although the arthouse staple is fighting to make a comeback). But other, larger chains have survived the drought, and Mooky Greidinger, head of Regal Cinemas, the second-largest movie theater chain in the world, went so far as to tell the Washington Post, "Cinema will live forever." Greidinger's putting his money where his mouth is—Regal Cinemas will shortly be reopening their U.S. locations. 

Analysts don't predict a full return to box office standards until 2022, but by Q4, we should be close. Comic Book reported that "Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities...hypothesizes the fourth quarter box office this year could end up grossing north of $2 billion." That's .9 billion less than Q4 in 2019, but for a pandemic-affected year, it ain't bad. Pachter wrote, "We view our current [fourth-quarter] estimate as conservative, assuming there will be massive pent-up demand for seeing movies with friends or dates out of the home once the public has been largely inoculated."

Pent-up demand is right.

When will you be returning to movie theaters? Sound off in the comments!