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Like so many other things, being a movie lover anywhere in the world has been a tough proposition in 2020. It's likely to get much tougher to see a movie here on the SouthCoast this week.

After reopening in Massachusetts for several weeks, the parent company of Regal Cinemas is reportedly considering indefinitely shuttering all of their United States theaters, according to CNN.

This would mean that the SouthCoast would lose roughly half of its first-run movie outlets, including Regal Cinemas locations in Swansea, the Silver City Galleria in Taunton, the Mashpee Commons in Mashpee, the Kingston Collection (formerly the Independence Mall) in Kingston, and the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis.

Massachusetts begins Phase 3, Stage 2 today, which continues to allow movie theaters to fill to 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 250 people per each individual theater.

The problem is two-fold.

People are still seemingly skittish about returning to the movies. A Boston.com poll suggests that only 1 in 10 people in Massachusetts are ready to return to a movie theater in Phase 3.

The other major problem is that there is a lack of product to help draw the crowds back. Just this weekend, Universal Pictures announced that the new James Bond movie No Time To Die, already rescheduled from last spring to next month, would be held again, this time until April 2, 2021.

It's a chicken-and-egg kind of problem. Filmmakers aren't going to release blockbuster movies until the crowds return to the theaters, but movie lovers are unlikely to return to the cinemas until big movies are released. It would be like a restaurant trying to regain their lost customers without serving up their signature dishes. This leaves local theaters with a lot of empty seats and no one to sell overpriced candy and popcorn to.

Meanwhile, Flagship Cinemas in Wareham is open on weekends for the time being. AMC in the Dartmouth Mall is open Fridays through Tuesdays. Picture Show in Fall River's SouthCoast Marketplace is open every day with reduced hours.

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