Business

Collins Road Theatres reopens soon with recliners, COVID filters in air system

New heating, cooling units have COVID filters

Recliners have replaced traditional theater seating in all five auditoriums of Collins Road Theatres. (Courtesy Bruce Ta
Recliners have replaced traditional theater seating in all five auditoriums of Collins Road Theatres. (Courtesy Bruce Taylor)

Customers will notice some readily apparent changes when the Collins Road Theatres, across from Lindale Mall in Marion, reopen this month. But some upgrades will not be so obvious.

Recliners have replaced traditional theater seating in all five auditoriums. Bruce Taylor, owner and general manager, said the change represents a significant financial investment in wake of damage caused by the Aug. 10 derecho.

“Our old seating cost about $180 and change per seat,” Taylor said. “The recliners cost $620 per seat.

“We did have 172 seats in each auditorium and now we only have 67. We lost 105 seats in each auditorium to do that.”

The venue had a total of about 850 seats, but “now we’re down to 360. That’s a lot of seats gone, but I would rather fill 60 seats with happy people than 40 seats with people who would rather have recliners,” Taylor said.

Customers will be able to reserve seats online for a specific movie showing. When two adjoining seats are reserved, the next seat will be marked with an “X” to indicate it is not available, to ensure social distancing.

Rows are about 7 feet apart. Child booster seats will be available from the theater.

In addition, each auditorium has new ceiling tiles, carpet and paint. Seven rooftop heating, ventilating and air-conditioning units — including five replaced after the storm — meet minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, air-filtration standards for COVID-19 protection.

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“The only thing that’s original in each auditorium is the screen and the fabric on the walls,” Taylor said. “We are turning lemons into lemonade. We basically have a brand-new theater.

“Fortunately the insurance covered most of this, but there was so much damage from the storm that we went past the maximum on our insurance coverage.”

Collins Road Theatres will reopen Dec. 11. The much-dealyed “Wonder Woman 1984” will begin its run on Christmas Day.

“We had originally planned to reopen on Dec. 6, but we decided that we needed the extra week to get everything done,” Taylor said.

Taylor said ticket prices will not change. Customers will need to wear a mask to enter the lobby and will be encouraged to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines while watching a movie.

“Much like in a restaurant, they will be able to take their mask off while eating or drinking,” Taylor said.

Responding to COVID-19 concerns, Taylor temporarily plans to book movies for four of the auditoriums, reserving the fifth for private screenings.

“We will show any of the movies that are playing for up to 20 people,” he said. “We will charge a fee of between $100 and $120, depending on whether it’s a new or classic movie.

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“We will be somewhat flexible on the time to see it. We expect to do at least a couple of those per day.”

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