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AMC Theatres will not require masks at reopened theaters because it’s a ‘political controversy’

‘Tenet’ and ‘Mulan’ will likely kick off the Hollywood summer blockbuster season

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This May 14, 2020, photo shows an AMC theater sign at a nearly empty parking lot for the theater in Londonderry, N.H. After three months of near total blackout of cinemas nationwide, movie theaters are preparing to reopen - even if it means only a few titles on the marquee and showings limited to as little as 25% capacity.

This May 14, 2020, photo shows an AMC theater sign at a nearly empty parking lot for the theater in Londonderry, N.H. After three months of near total blackout of cinemas nationwide, movie theaters are preparing to reopen — even if it means only a few titles on the marquee and showings limited to as little as 25% capacity.

Charles Krupa, Associated Press

AMC Theatres announced reopening plans Thursday afternoon, revealing that the theater chain will not require masks they did not “want to be drawn into a political controversy,” Variety reports.

In total, 450 AMC locations will reopen on July 15.

The chain is expected to be fully operational by the time “Mulan” debuts on July 24 and “Tenet” drops on July 31.

“We didn’t rush to reopen,” AMC CEO Adam Aron said. “There were some jurisdictions in some states, such as Georgia and Texas, that allowed people to reopen theaters in mid-May. We opted to remain closed, so we could give the country time to get a better handle on coronavirus. We wanted to use this time to figure out how best to open and how to do so safely.”

AMC will not require guests to wear masks. Employees will have to wear them. The situation will change in cities and states where masks are required. The chain won’t perform temperature checks.

“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” Aron said. “We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary. We think that the vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks. When I go to an AMC feature, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example.”

Movie theater chains, like AMC, have been waiting for studios to stop changing release dates releasing on films before deciding when to reopen. Film production studios continue to move their Hollywood blockbuster films as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in different areas around the country, which has kept movie studios from opening up.

The major summer blockbuster films continue to switch their opening dates. For example, “Tenet” and “Wonder Woman 1984” — two of the summer’s top Hollywood blockbusters — were moved to new dates amid the COVID-19 outbreak, as I reported for the Deseret News. “Tenet” moved from July 17 to July 31 and “Wonder Woman 1984” moved from Aug. 14 to Oct. 2.

Movie theaters have held off from opening up because they don’t have many new films to show off, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Paramount’s president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson told The Hollywood Reporter that he hopes the calendar will hold: “I think it’s pretty much on track barring any unforeseen circumstances.”

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said something similar.

“They and the other studios have been very, very good partners and we’ve told them all the things we are doing. Christopher Nolan made it clear he wanted to have his movie be one of the first that came out. We will serve popcorn.”

But Megaplex Theatres in Utah decided to take another path when it comes to reopening. The theater chain plans to reopen on Thursday, June 18, with films like “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” series, “Dunkirk,” “Just Mercy,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “The Greatest Showman.”

“The intermission is finally over! Our team is ready,” said Blake Andersen, Megaplex Theatres president. “Our buildings are ready. Our technology is ready, and we are thrilled to be welcoming guests back to Megaplex Theatres to enjoy great movies on the biggest screens in Utah.”