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Texas allows movie theaters to reopen. But AMC, Cinemark have different plans

Movie theater chains might not open until the summer

A copy of the Governor’s Report to Reopen Texas is seen during a news conference where Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would relax some restrictions imposed on some businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Monday, April 27, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A copy of the Governor’s Report to Reopen Texas is seen during a news conference where Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would relax some restrictions imposed on some businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Monday, April 27, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Monday that the state’s stay-at-home order will expire Thursday as scheduled. Businesses can begin to reopen thereafter.

What’s the news:

  • Retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls are among the businesses that will be allowed to reopen first, according to the Texas Tribune. Those business can only operate at 25% capacity.
  • But movie theater chains might not open so quickly. According to Deadline, AMC and Cinemark are among two movie theater chains hoping for a mid-summer reopening date.
  • The decision to open in the summer is due to safety concerns and the lack of fresh content.
  • A Cinemark representative told Deadline:

“Cinemark is continuing to follow the timeline Mark Zoradi discussed on its April 15 liquidity call. The company is currently working toward a mid-summer opening date, contingent upon health and safety regulations, as well as availability of studio content. The first release currently scheduled is Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ set for July 17. It is important to note that the theatrical exhibition’s return to ‘normalcy’ may span multiple months, driven by staggered theatre openings due to government limits, reduced operating hours, lingering social distancing and a ramp up of consumer comfort with public gatherings.”

  • AMC released a statement, too, per Deadline:

“As the largest movie theatre chain in the United States, AMC is strongly committed to bringing movies back to the big screen, safely and responsibly. As we plan our reopening, the health and safety of our guests and associates is our absolute highest priority. To be able to open, we also need a line of sight into a regular schedule of new theatrical blockbusters that get people truly excited about returning to their favorite movie theaters. Those blockbusters are scheduled to return this summer, beginning with Warner Brothers’ ‘Tenet’ and Disney’s ‘Mulan,’ with many more major titles scheduled immediately thereafter. While we expect to open our theaters in the weeks ahead of these new blockbusters, utilizing creative programming of immensely popular previously released films, we would be wise to do so only directly in advance of the release of major new movie titles. AMC is currently working through every detail required to successfully showcase these exciting new releases in an environment that’s safe and welcoming for moviegoers, and we will share those details as we get closer to the dates when our theaters will reopen.”

Other states reopen, too

  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called for movie theaters to reopen as early as April 27 as a part of businesses reopening overall, as I reported for the Deseret News.
  • But insiders felt it would take longer than one week for theaters to reopen. The movie theater chains will need to rehire employees and train staff again on new procedures before they open up again, according to my report.
  • Experts are also worried about “the lack of fresh content available to show on the big screen,” too, per Variety.

Movie theaters will be ready

  • Jeff Whipple, vice president of advertising, marketing and public relations for Megaplex Theaters, told me theaters will be prepared to reopen when people are ready to come back.
  • Whipple said: “There is something magical about that experience that guests can experience the Megaplex. And we know we’ve already heard from our guests who are anxious for us to get back to regular business operation as quickly as possible.”