ENTERTAINMENT

Curious About Going To A Movie Theater? 7 Things To Know

Oct 30, 2020, 10:04 AM
Photo: Adobe Stock...
Photo: Adobe Stock

It’s been over two months since movie theaters started reopening in the U.S., but there is still a fair amount of consumer confusion about moviegoing in the COVID-19 era.

Movie studios and theater owners have found themselves in the unique position of having to re-educate audiences on how to see movies now. Warner Bros. even recently revamped the website for “ Tenet,” Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi espionage thriller, to help take some of the mystery out of going back to the movies.

So what do you need to know about going to the theater?

Where are theaters open?

Indoor movie theaters remain open in most states, except New Mexico, although some are on a county-by-county basis, including California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin. Last weekend, theaters were cleared to open begin opening in some New York State counties at under 50% capacity and this weekend San Francisco will join in too. New York City, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles remain closed, however.

What theaters are open?

Regal theaters are currently closed in the U.S, and independent cinemas vary by location, but AMC Theaters (the nation’s biggest chain) and Cinemark are largely up and running. Approximately 54% of screens are open in the U.S., according to the National Association of Theater Owners.

Are there new movies?

Yes, there are movies being released in theaters almost every week, although there have been quite a few major fall movies, like “Black Widow,” “ No Time To Die ” and “West Side Story,” that have moved to 2021.

The biggest release since reopening began in late August is “Tenet,” which is still playing on around 1,800 screens. Current offerings widely available also include the Liam Neeson thriller, “Honest Thief,” a PG-13 horror movie with Gillian Jacobs called “Come Play,” the R-rated horror “The Empty Man” and the comedy “The War With Grandpa” with Robert De Niro. There are also “retro” releases, like “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Hocus Pocus” and “Monsters Inc,” which are available for $5 tickets at AMC. And this weekend, Fathom Events is bringing “Apollo 13” back to theaters for its 25th anniversary.

What safety precautions are theaters taking?

During the long shutdown, the National Association of Theater Owners helped spearhead the development of a sweeping set of protocols and guidelines called CinemaSafe that over 400 companies representing over 3,100 locations have committed to. They include mandatory masks for employees and patrons, social distancing, reduced capacity, mobile ticketing, modified concessions, air filtration, employee training and enhanced cleaning. Anyone not feeling well is also asked to stay home.

Can you purchase and consume concessions?

Yes, in most locations. San Francisco has a concession ban and Chicago has recently suspended dining and bar services at theaters. Customers are generally allowed to remove their masks while consuming concessions.

What are viewing options?

There are a few options for seeing movies. You can buy tickets regularly, wear a mask and social distance in the theater (theaters with assigned seating do this automatically and others have taped off seats and rows). Or, some chains like AMC and Cinemark and some theaters are renting screens for private viewing parties for up to 20 people. Pricing varies by movie (new movies tend to start at $149 whereas back catalog classics can be $99) and location. Cinemark is even offering “ private gaming party ” pricing ($99 for 2 hours) where you can play your own video game on the big screen.

Is it safe?

Health experts recommend wearing masks and maintaining social distance when outside and avoid going out when sick. Indoor spaces like movie theaters, restaurants and malls mean prolonged exposure, which could mean greater risk.

“At this point, with cases surging, I’m not sure that being indoors for two hours with folks is a really good idea,” said Lisa M. Lee, a public health expert at Virginia Tech.

Private viewing parties — with safeguards — might be a way to lessen the risk, however.

“If you have, for example, a family or a pandemic pod that you stayed with and everyone has agreed to be safe and to maintain physical distance and masking and all the precautions, that could be an option,” she said.

But in general, drive-ins or an outdoor screening “would certainly be a lot safer,” Lee said.

“We’re never going to have a zero-risk situation with this because we have far too much community spread at this point, so we all have to pick carefully what we’re willing to risk and that’s an individual decision,” Lee continued. “But it’s also really important that we avoid putting other people at risk, which is the issue in a closed space with other people that you don’t know are infected.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Entertainment

A general view of atmosphere the premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Frozen"at the El Capit...
Alli Rosenbloom

Disney announces more ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Frozen’ sequels are in the works

Disney CEO Bob Iger said on Wednesday during the company's earnings call that there are plans for additional sequels to both hit franchises in the works.
1 day ago
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO - OCTOBER 22: A general view shows a locked gate at the entrance to the Bonanz...
Associated Press

Alec Baldwin wants prosecutor in on-set death case dropped

Defense attorneys for actor Alec Baldwin are seeking to disqualify the special prosecutor in the case against him stemming from the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set.
1 day ago
(From left) Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are pictured here in 2016's "La La Land." (Dale Robinette/L...
Alli Rosenbloom

Musical adaptation of ‘La La Land’ is dancing its way to Broadway

Get your dancing shoes ready, because "La La Land" is coming to Broadway.
2 days ago
In this handout photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nathan Lee Chasing ...
Rio Yamat, Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in Nevada sex abuse case

Former “Dances With Wolves” actor Nathan Chasing Horse has been formally charged in Nevada with eight felonies and two misdemeanors.
3 days ago
AMC raises seat prices...
Associated Press

AMC to charge more for good seats in movie theaters

Middle seats at many U.S. movie theaters just got more expensive.
3 days ago
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 05: First Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden speaks onstag...
Lisa Respers France

Grammy winners 2023: See who won

Harry Styles won album of the year at the Grammy Awards, taking home the top honor on a night that Beyoncé dominated and became the ceremony’s most decorated artist.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Curious About Going To A Movie Theater? 7 Things To Know