CORONAVIRUS

Not all Corridor movie theater owners ready to reopen

Collins Road Theatres may restart May 29

#x201c;We can limit the number of tickets that we sell and monitor to make sure people space out properly,#x201d; says C
“We can limit the number of tickets that we sell and monitor to make sure people space out properly,” says Collins Road Theatres owner Bruce Taylor, shown above in one of the then-newly remodeled theater in 2015. (The Gazette)

Eager to take the family to the movies this weekend to catch one of the new summer blockbusters?

Sorry, you’ll have to wait.

While Gov. Kim Reynolds has said movie theaters could reopen on Friday, the screens in the Corridor will remain dark until next weekend or possibly until late June or early July.

Bruce Taylor, owner and general manager of Collins Road Theatres in Cedar Rapids, tentatively aims to open next weekend.

“Our plan is just a hair fluid at this point to open on Friday, May 29,” Taylor said. “After looking at it over this weekend, I may decide to heck with it and hold off for a couple more weeks.

“It won’t be set in stone until you see the movie times pop up on our website.”

Taylor said capacity will be reduced 50 percent, to about 80 seats per auditorium under the state mandate governing the opening of theaters and other venues.

“We can limit the number of tickets that we sell and monitor to make sure people space out properly,” he said. “There will not be any late admissions, so you will be in there before the lights go out or you won’t get to go in. That is specifically to let people find a seat before the lights do out.

“We also will have a pretty liberal refund policy. If you cannot find a seat that you are comfortable with, we will be happy to switch you to a different show or give you a refund.”

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Taylor said the house lights in the auditoriums will be left on during the previews to allow those using the concession stand to safely find a seat.

Plexiglas shields will be installed at the concession stand to protect customers and employees.

Taylor is not ready to provide the titles of what movies will be showing when he reopens.

“It will be a mix of some stuff that we had before we closed and a couple of new movies that have been released,” he said.

AMC Theatres, the largest chain in the nation with 630 locations, including from Westdale Town Center, said in an April 24 statement it will not reopen until there is new Hollywood product about to roll out.

The first summer studio film currently on the books is Warner Bros. action movie “Tenet” slated to open on July 17, followed by Disney’s live-action “Mulan” a week later on July 24.

Many major movies planned for release this spring were postponed or put on streaming services.

“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,” AMC said.

“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.”

Marcus Theatres will start its reopening process “sometime in June” with three to five locations, Rolando Rodriguez, chairman, president and CEO, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a statement on Thursday.

The Milwaukee-based chain operates movie theaters in northeast Cedar Rapids, Coralville and Iowa City.

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Rodriguez said Marcus still is investigating best practices for reopening. The emphasis will be on low-contact and low-touch transactions for tickets and concessions, social distancing and a priority on cleaning,

After the chain evaluates its progress at the few theaters it opens in June, Rodriguez said Marcus then gradually will reopen its other theaters — ideally in time for the big summer blockbusters starting in July.

“We’re going to be very diligent and very cautious,” Rodriguez said.

FilmScene, Iowa City’s not-for-profit cinema, remains closed at the Chauncey and on the Ped Mall, but continues to offer movies for at-home viewing through its “virtual screening room.”

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All donations are tax-deductible.