The big picture: With theaters now shutting down across the country, could this be the catalyst that leads to the end of the theater era? Do we even need theaters anymore or are they simply a holdover from an earlier time? Would you be sad to see theaters disappear or is it time to say goodbye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

AMC Theatres on Tuesday closed all of its cinemas in the US in order to comply with local, state and federal directives to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

AMC, which operates the largest theatrical chain in the country, said its theaters will remain closed for at least six to 12 weeks. The situation is being monitored closely, we’re told, with the company remaining flexible on reopening in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Regal on Tuesday also closed all locations due to current circumstances.

The response to the coronavirus has escalated rapidly in the US over the past week. Yesterday, government officials recommended that people avoid public gatherings of 10 people or more. Officials in more than a dozen states have also forced public venues like bars and restaurants to close. Such mandates make operating businesses like movie theaters virtually impossible.

NBCUniversal this week said it will make Universal Pictures films available to rent from home on the same day as their global theatrical releases.

Hollywood has been interested in the concept of letting people rent first-run movies at home for over a decade but figuring out how to do so without cannibalizing movie theaters has kept the plan from materializing in any meaningful capacity.

Masthead credit: Empty theater by Fer Gregory. Home theater by Koksharov Dmitry.