John Partilla, Screenvision CEO, joined Yahoo Finance to discuss what the film industry will look like post COVID-19.
SEANA SMITH: New York City movie theaters are set to reopen tomorrow with limited capacity. Similar steps have been taken in other cities and states nationwide. We want to talk to someone whose business is directly impacted by that. And we want to bring in John Partilla. He's the CEO of Screenvision. It's an advertising business here for the cinema for the movie industry.
John, it's great to speak with you again. Last time we spoke in December, I believe you told me that you expected a choppy first quarter for the business. So how is the quarter shaping up from your end?
JOHN PARTILLA: Yeah, I think our crystal ball was pretty accurate. It certainly was choppy, and it's been a little bit choppy, but it's shaping up. And I think I'd also said that we were expecting the recovery to begin around April or May, and it's looking like that's the case. The bright light, by the way, so far in Q1, was this weekend's movie, "Tom and Jerry," which pulled in about $14 ish million, almost hitting what "Wonder Woman" did in December, which was close to $17 million. So, not a bad opening weekend.
ADAM SHAPIRO: I am curious about traditional movie theaters. In the cities that have allowed them to open, because New York's about to, what are you seeing? If you can only have maybe 100 people in there, are they filling 100 people? Are they getting people?
JOHN PARTILLA: Well, we're hearing some pretty good reports so far on early demand and early bookings. You know, with the new cinema safe protocols, you have to have space seating, right? There's less seats. There's masks. There's a great deal of cleaning. And so people are tending to order their tickets in advance.
And so what we're hearing from our theater partners is very much so that they are getting some very good demand coming to this weekend. It's been a year. You know, it's been a year for New York City, proper the five Boroughs, since we've been open, and San Francisco is also opening. So I think the feeling is people are really anxious to get out there if they can and experience the movies in person. So we're looking forward to that.
SEANA SMITH: John, the Save Our Stage [INAUDIBLE] of the relief bill that was passed back in December to help independent theaters help live venues. Does the industry still need more help from Congress?
JOHN PARTILLA: Yes, I think the industry would welcome any additional help, all the way from the small independent up to mid-sized, even up to the large conglomerates and the publicly traded exhibitors. We've really suffered as an industry. And, you know, we were very excited about the Save Our Stages Act. We were so glad to be able to participate and piggyback on top of that. Grateful-- Mr. Schumer for that as well, Senator Schumer for that support.
But I think people are very much hoping for more support in the year ahead because it's going to be a little bit choppy for some time to come in terms of attendance. People want to be safe, make sure that the vaccines are scaling, and people are appropriately distancing, eventually going back to the movie theaters and scale. So I think a little more relief from the government will be most welcome.
SEANA SMITH: John Partilla, always great to speak with you. CEO of Screenvision, we look forward to speaking with you again soon, and wish you all the best.