YOUR VOICES: On Movie Theaters Reopening

YOUR VOICES

Your Voices is a simple concept created to encourage conversation and opinions between movie lovers. It works like this: I throw out a certain topic. After that I’ll make my case or share my opinions. Then it’s time for Your Voices. Head to the comments section and let me and your fellow moviegoers know your thoughts on the topic for that day!

Everyone reading this knows that 2020 has been a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world on its head and affected our lives in numerous ways. Obviously there have been things related to the virus that are a lot more important than movies, but for today we’re talking about one of the bigger questions on every moviegoers mind: Is it safe for theaters to reopen?

This has been a hot topic for several weeks, ever since many theaters across the country have reopened their doors. But while many movie houses are welcoming back audiences, the country’s biggest markets (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco) remain closed. Adding another layer to the conversation, the movies that have braved releasing have been met with pretty tepid results. The biggest of course being “Tenet”. Christopher Nolan’s terrific mind-bending blockbuster hasn’t ushered in the big return theaters were hoping for. There is only one explanation – many people don’t feel safe returning to theaters.

THEATER

I have been back to my favorite theater a total of five times since it reopened. To put it simply, each time I have felt very safe. Contrary to what some have said, going back to the theaters isn’t automatically a case of carelessness or “putting your life in danger“. Personally speaking I weighed a number of factors before making my decision to return. My theater’s safety protocols were at the top of the list. They have went above and beyond my state’s regulations for reopening. Mandatory masks, no-touch exchanges throughout the theater, blocked off seating, staggered show times to reduce hallway traffic, roaming cleaning and disinfecting teams, an assigned staff member for each showing to oversee viewers and after-show cleanup. This only touches on their extensive protocols. So I’m very comfortable returning to the theater and I’m ready for the big releases to arrive.

But that doesn’t mean everyone should be. Is every theater doing what my theater is doing? I doubt it. So that means you need to look closely at what ANY theater is doing to ensure customer safety before entering their doors. Also, these are unprecedented times and people’s levels of concern vary. If you truly feel in danger by going to the theater, don’t go. You wouldn’t enjoy yourself anyway and it isn’t worth the stress and anxiety. So make the decision that’s best for your state of mind and body. I think attending a movie theater can absolutely be done safely. But it takes theaters going the extra mile to earn the trust of moviegoers. Now what say you?

YOUR VOICES: How do you feel about movie theaters reopening?

30 thoughts on “YOUR VOICES: On Movie Theaters Reopening

  1. Mine was safe. I’ve only been once but there were only 10 people in the whole room. I liked being back! Everyone’s location will determine how comfortable they feel. I do know I will only go when there’s a film that should be seen on the big screen. Otherwise, I’ll wait.

  2. There’s nothing more that I’d love than to take my family to a movie. Before the pandemic we went weekly and sometimes more, especially me when I’d go with my younger kids to one movie and then with my teenagers to another genre and then date night with my wife. Not to mention the dine in theater in our city has some of the best food you can get and is comparable in price to other restaurants.

    I don’t talk politics or other hot topics on blogs I follow, so this is difficult to answer without coming across snarky, but I’ll try.

    Do I believe the movie theater will do everything they can to keep their customers safe? Yes. Dead customers or ones in ICU don’t go see movies, so it is in their best interest to listen to science and apply what they learned in kindergarten about germs.

    Will the majority of other patrons in the area where I live go along with the program? No.

    Therefore I don’t feel safe going, especially with three of our family members falling into high risk categories.

    I wish I did feel safe, movies are virtually my only entertainment and I’d love to be spending my money at local businesses and getting the economy back in line. But I can’t project my wishes onto others so unfortunately I’m at their mercy.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I get what you’re saying. I’m proud of the theater we go to for being very firm. I’ve seen them decline people from entering for wearing masks improperly. I’ve also watched them tell a group to move to the other side of the hallway in order to enforce social distancing. And they declined one couple trying to buy concessions with cash. Those are the things making a difference. But you’re right, high-risk MUST be taken into consideration among other things.

  3. I was so excited to go back to the cinema but haven’t yet due to the mandatory masks. Although we know it is a safety precaution, wearing masks for anything longer than 10 minutes makes by my Husband and I feel very nauseous and gives me a migraine 😢.
    So, as it stands, we may not make it back for a long time yet. Not great for a movie blogger 🙈

  4. I miss going to the theater. I haven’t gotten to go back yet personally. Pre-pandemic,I always went to morning shows on the weekday I have off because I have a small child in school, but now he’s only in school half of the week, and home with me the other, and his home day is my off day. Plus my theater isn’t doing those early showings, they’re only doing late matinees and evenings, and that I’m not crazy about because it means more people.

    If My theater still had morning showings, I’d go because I know I wouldn’t be around a ton of people. I know it’s likely not practical for them, but that’s what would get me back personally. Until then I’m just buying curbside popcorn and being depressed.

    • You and I kinda do the same thing. I go to a lot of morning and early afternoon shows. In fact I rarely go to a night movie. A big reason (similar to yours) I go during the day is because I have some mid-week off days while my wife and kids are in school. Call me silly but I don’t like being gone while they are at home.

  5. The fact that your local movie theater at least did whatever it can to keep you safe seems comforting knowing that you’re in a safe place and you’re also keeping safe. On the other hand, given the fact that I live in a state that hasn’t really done well with its response. It is more and more unlikely that I’ll be going back. Plus, I think some of the re-openings have been rushed and poorly handled as I can’t blame studios for not just pushing releases towards next year. Hell, I would love to go back to the movie theater for a big screening like the experience I had with Avengers: Endgame which was packed and loud.

    It’s just not going to happen anytime soon and I too love to do morning screening because it’s cheaper and there’s not a lot of people there. I think my local multiplex does morning screenings but I’m just too tired to go as I spend much of the weekdays taking care of my 18-month old nephew with my mother and he is already becoming more unruly than the Tasmanian Devil.

  6. Theaters near me are now open, it seems. Here’s what AMC is doing for their part:

    https://www.amctheatres.com/amc-safe-and-clean

    I have to say I’m impressed. It sounds pretty similar to the strict guidelines your theater is using. (And I’m guessing, but yours is not an AMC chain, correct?)

    I have my eye on Tenet this weekend. Quite possibly this is now a moral decision, whether I think there’s any chance of me picking something up and giving it to my dad. I wouldn’t mind myself getting it — though I’d really rather not! — but giving it to someone else would make me feel awful.

    • I know exactly how you feel. I would terrible passing it to someone else. That’s why the details really matter to me. As for our theater, it’s part of Cinemark.

  7. I barely go anymore having a small human to wrestle but he and I did go and see Trolls World Tour together a couple of weeks ago and the risk felt acceptable for us. He is in school with thirty other children daily so we’re exposed no matter what!

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