In 2020, nearly 5,800 movie theaters, most with multiple screens, existed in the United States. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, many cinemas across the country closed for periods ranging from weeks to months or even longer. Fortunately, US movie theaters are now starting to reopen on a widespread basis. Some are even holding elaborate reopening ceremonies as they begin showing films again. Why did cinemas close, and how are they reopening? Also, how many movie theaters are reopening– which states are open and what capacity? Read on to find out.
Why They Closed
US movie theaters in many states closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, newly developed COVID-19 vaccines are becoming increasingly more available. Local and state governments are gradually loosening business restrictions in response, though often with social distancing and other safety measures required. Movie theaters now reopening is good news for film fans as well as theater owners.
Will Audiences Return?Read More »
Theaters Helping Themselves
US movie theaters will also be doing everything they can to encourage the return of their customers. Doubtlessly, cinemas will highlight their sanitation and safety practices as a way of easing any fear moviegoers might have when they think about going to a movie. Publicly highlighting their cleanliness and sanitation routines will likely be essential in reducing movie theater customers’ fears.
It Depends on Location
Just where movie theaters are reopening and at what seating capacity largely depends on location, with some US states more open than others. Many states and local governments have erected various social distancing restrictions, including caps on seating capacity, which could be 25% or less.
Remember, as well, that as the coronavirus waxes and wanes — growing more prevalent in some places while weakening in others — movie theaters may open and then close again in response.
Movie Theater Chains
Big chains own most US cinemas. The five largest are AMC Theaters, followed by Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark USA, Inc., Cineplex Entertainment LP, and Marcus Theaters Corp. Movie theaters are reopening depending on the theater owner and local, state, and federal directives.
AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest movie theater chain, says that at least 98% of its cineplexes are now open across the country, with the remainder reopening as local guidelines allow. Depending on the state, AMC theaters may be open every day or only for a few days. Many AMC movie houses also have varying seating capacities, such as only 50% of seats available. AMC uses what it calls “Safe & Clean” safety measures to help protect its customers from the coronavirus. The movie chain’s website contains the latest information on which theaters are reopening and where.
The nations’ second-largest movie chain, Regal Entertainment Group, says that select theaters are now open. Additional Regal theaters will reopen over the weeks and months ahead, too. States where Regal has movie theaters that are currently open include 13 cineplexes in California as well as the following states:
- New York
Regal plans to reopen more theaters in the above states by the end of April 2021 and theaters in many other states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Regal will also reopen most of its remaining cineplexes across the country at various dates in May. Refer to the Regal website for the latest reopening information. This chain’s cineplex seating capacities vary. Regal is following government guidelines and what the chain bills as its “CinemaSafe” practices.
Number three movie chain Cinemark has currently reopened cineplexes in 41 states, including most movie theaters in California, Florida, Ohio, and Texas. The theater chain also plans on reopening its other cineplexes in May and the near future. The Cinemark website is the best source for the latest information on its theater reopening schedule, face mask wear, seating capacities, and sanitation practices.
Other US Theaters
Cineplex Entertainment and other US movie chains and individual movie theaters are generally now open to one degree or another, though how many varies by the state. Cineplex Entertainment LP, for example, says that it’s reduced overall seating capacity by 60% to 80%, depending on auditorium size. That movie theater chain also continues to reassess seating capacity based on government health directives.
Check Online First
Curious about which movie theaters are reopening in what states and also what their seating capacities are? Always check online or call your favorite local movie theater ahead of time if you want the latest information on how it’s dealing with COVID-19, including days and hours of operation.
Lastly, several significant websites such as Fandango provide nearby theater locations and websites, showtimes, concession availability, tickets, and any coronavirus restrictions just by entering your zip code.
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