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The pandemic’s best movie innovation is the private theater rental

If you like movies but hate other people, theaters have created a solution that could last even after the pandemic: renting out your own auditorium. And it just might help their struggling businesses too.

Tom & Jerry, a new film based on the 80-year-old cartoon characters of the same name, earned a respectable $14.1 million at the US box office this weekend—the second biggest opening haul of any movie since the pandemic began last year. Warner Bros. said the film was given an “enormous boost” by private theater rentals, Bloomberg reported.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced theaters to find creative ways to generate some cash as moviegoers were hesitant to head back to the cinemas. Last year, two of the three largest cinema chains in the US—AMC and Cinemark—started allowing private parties to rent their own auditoriums. (Classic movies can be screened for as little as $100 at AMC and $175 at Cinemark. New releases cost more: $150 at AMC and $250 at Cinemark.)

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