The blistering snowstorm that continues to pummel much of the Eastern seaboard is also putting the entertainment business in a deep freeze, closing movie theaters in major cities like New York, Atlanta and Philadelphia while also impacting filming on several film and TV productions in the region.
Regal closed over 65 movie theaters on Thursday while approximately 41 AMC locations along the Eastern seaboard, including all 12 in the city of Atlanta, remained shuttered.
It’s unclear how many New York-based productions were affected by the snowfall but city permits for exterior filming in the region were suspended Thursday and Friday. The New York City film office remained open Thursday and Friday.
CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” halted production earlier this week in anticipation of the storm, as did HBO’s new series “The Leftovers.”
Also affected by the storm were FX’s “The Americans,” AMC’s “Turn” and “Halt and Catch Fire” and Sundance TV’s “Rectify.”
The domestic box office, which welcomes newcomer MGM’s “RoboCop” and three other wide entries, will likely see a decline in ticket sales over the next 48 hours and power outages could also impact Thursday night ratings as NBC’s Sochi Olympics entered its first full week on the air.
“Business is chilly, to say the least!” one insider remarked.
Still, Warner Bros.’ hit holdover “The Lego Movie” is expected to woo enough moviegoers for a $50 million weekend over four days.
Elsewhere, like Broadway, the show was expected go on Thursday, but frigid conditions were already scaring off customers.
The brand new musical “Rocky” was unlucky enough to have scheduled its first preview performances for Thursday night. (One earlier preview, set for Tuesday, had to be cancelled due to a power reduction precipitated by damage to underground cables caused by salt and melting ice.)
Like all the other shows, “Rocky” will go on, but looks likely to play to a smaller crowd than it would have in better weather. Snowfall almost always drives down Main Stem box office, as suburban visitors from the tri-state area — a crowd that accounts for a significant chunk of business at most shows — stay home and walk-up business plummets at box offices and at the outdoor TKTS booth. In addition, producers will have to contend with revenue lost from the tickets returned or exchanged by theatergoers unable to make it to the theater because of the weather.
It’s starting to feel like Broadway just can’t catch a break these days, with the frigid assault serving as the latest setback in a winter that seems to bring a new storm to Gotham every few days. The blizzard also comes fast on the heels of the Super Bowl, which decimated Broadway B.O. as tourists came to town focused on the gridiron rather on the stage, and Super Bowl Boulevard, the weeklong streetfair that set up shop right in the Times Square theater district, distracted out-of-towners and kept locals away.
Another previewing musical, “The Bridges of Madison County,” aimed to boost walk-up biz with a hastily announced discount program for the Thursday evening perf, offering up to two tickets at $35 a pop to any ticketbuyer who mentioned “Bridges Blizzard Bargain.”