After Hurricane Harvey shut down most multiplex locations in Corpus Christi and Houston two weeks ago, here comes Hurricane Irma, which is expected to hit the Florida peninsula overnight Saturday. The storm, per the Weather Channel, could downgrade from a Category 5 to a 4 by the time it makes landfall, but theater owners are taking great precautions, closing down many venues effective today on both east and west coasts of the state.
The moves come as more than a third of the gas stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Naples aresa are without fuel as shortages become more prevalent as many evacuate the state.
Cinemark has already shuttered Palace Boca, Boynton Beach and Paradise 24 Davie outside of Fort Lauderdale, and they’ll remain closed through Monday. Regal South Beach and iPic North Miami Beach are closed, while northern locations like the Oviedo Marketplace Stadium 22 will close end of business day Friday with a hope to re-open Monday.
A total of 14 Regal sites will be shuttered throughout the weekend, and that figure is increasing. As of now, all AMC Theatres in the Miami and West Palm Beach markets will be closed beginning tomorrow until Irma passes. Another 11 AMC sites are already closed including but not limited to locations in Sunrise, Aventura, Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale. iPic has closed its Boca Raton and North Miami Beach venues today. Five Cobb locations are shut down beginning tomorrow until further notice.
Similar to Harvey, Irma isn’t expected to slow the overall weekend box office much — just 3%-5% per exhibition sources.
After a slow summer that was down 15%, many exhibitors and distributors are looking for a boost, which New Line is expected to deliver this weekend with its Stephen King feature adaptation It. According to the latest round of tracking this morning, the horror movie is on course to post a record opening of $80 million. Previews begin tonight in about 3,500 locations.