THE ANGELS – It has been more than two months since theaters began to reopen in the United States, but there is still quite a bit of confusion about the idea of going to the cinema in the era of Covid-19.
Production studios and movie theater owners are in the unique position of having to re-educate the public on how to watch movies. Warner Bros. even recently revamped the website for Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi spy thriller “Tenet,” to help remove some of the mystery.
What do you need to know before purchasing your ticket?
WHERE ARE CINEMAS OPENED?
Indoor cinemas are open in most states with the exception of New Mexico, although in some cases it depends on the county, such as California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin. Last week, theaters were allowed to open in some counties in New York State at 50% capacity, and this weekend they will also be joined by San Francisco. In the cities of New York, Washington and Los Angeles, however, they remain closed.
WHAT CINEMAS ARE OPEN?
The Regal chain cinemas are currently closed in the United States, and independent theaters vary by location, but AMC Theaters (the nation’s largest chain) and Cinemark are largely operating. About 54% of theaters are open in the United States, according to the National Association of Theater Owners.
ARE THERE NEW FILMS?
Yes, movies are being released in theaters almost weekly, although many big releases are planned for the fall, such as “Black Widow”, “No Time To Die” (“No time to kill”) and ” West Side Story, “were postponed to 2021.
The biggest premiere since theaters reopened in late August is “Tenet,” which is shown in about 1,800 theaters. The current wide offering also includes the Liam Neeson thriller “Honest Thief”, a teen-friendly horror film starring Gillian Jacobs, “Come Play”; the horror film “The Empty Man” (“Empty Man: The Messenger of the Last Day”) and the comedy “The War With Grandpa” (“At war with my grandfather”) with Robert De Niro. There are also “retro” features, including “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (“Jack’s Strange World”), “Hocus Pocus” (“Abracadabra”) and “Monsters Inc.”, at $ 5 a ticket at AMC. And this week Fathom Events brings back to the big screen “Apollo 13” (“Apollo 13”) on its 25th anniversary.
WHAT HEALTH MEASURES ARE CINEMAS TAKING?
During the lengthy shutdown, the National Association of Theater Owners helped develop a far-reaching set of protocols and guidelines called CinemaSafe, which has embraced more than 400 companies representing more than 3,100 cinemas. The regulations include the mandatory use of masks for employees and customers, social distancing, reduced capacity, portable ticket office, modified food and beverage stalls, air filtration, staff training and increased cleaning. Anyone who is not feeling well should stay home.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO BUY AND CONSUME FOOD AND DRINKS?
Yes, mostly. In San Francisco stalls are banned and in Chicago dinner and bar services were recently suspended in theaters. Clients can generally remove their masks while eating or drinking.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS TO WATCH MOVIES ON A LARGE SCREEN?
You can buy tickets regularly, wear a mask, and adhere to social distancing at the movies (theaters with assigned seats do this automatically and others have covered seats and rows with tape). Networks like AMC and Cinemark and other cinemas also rent rooms for private functions to groups of up to 20 people. Prices vary by location and film (the price to rent a room to see a new movie is usually at least $ 149, while a classic can cost $ 99). Cinemark even offers “private video game parties” (at $ 99 for 2 hours) where you can play your own video game on the big screen.
IT IS SAFE?
Health experts recommend wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding going out when sick. Enclosed spaces such as cinemas, restaurants, and shopping malls involve prolonged exposure, which could translate into increased risk.
“At this point, with cases increasing, I’m not sure that being indoors for two hours with other people is really a good idea,” said Lisa M. Lee, a public safety expert at Virginia Tech.
Private functions (with security guards), however, could be a way to reduce risk.
“If one has, for example, a family or group with whom one has remained sheltered and all have agreed to take care of themselves and maintain physical distance and take all precautions, that could be an option,” he said.
But in general, drive-ins and outdoor performances “would certainly be much safer,” Lee said.
“We are never going to be zero risk with this because there is too much community contagion right now so we all have to choose carefully what we are willing to risk and that is an individual decision,” Lee continued. “But it’s also really important that we avoid putting other people at risk, which is the problem in a closed space with other people that you don’t know if they are infected.”