TEXAS – While movie theaters across the state of Texas may have the ability to reopen on Friday, many are choosing to keep their doors closed.
- Texas movie theaters have the option to open starting Friday
- Many say they anticipate staying closed for now
- If they did open immediately, it’s unclear what they would show
On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced certain businesses like malls, restaurants, and movie theaters can begin opening starting Friday. Those that do open are required to operate at 25 percent capacity and must meet other restrictions like maintaining six feet of distance between customers, among others.
Some of the guidelines specific to movie theaters include asking staff to disinfect seats between showings, keeping every other row empty, and keeping two empty seats open between customer groups.
Several movie theater chains though are saying they are keeping their doors closed for now.
One chain that calls Texas home says even though they aren’t opening this weekend, when they do they want to make sure they are keeping customers safe.
“Opening safely is a very complex project that involves countless new procedures and equipment, all of which require extensive training,” said Alamo Drafthouse representatives in a tweet. “This is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly.”
Cinemark and Regal Cinemas are also keeping their theater doors closed for the foreseeable future while they work to ensure the safety of guests and staff when they do eventually reopen.
Another thing movie theaters have to consider is what movies are even available to show audiences.
Not only were the releases of high profile films like A Quiet Place Part II and the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, delayed, according to Vulture almost 60 major films are being delayed in some capacity. That doesn’t include smaller indie films that are facing delays or movies that are being released directly online and skipping the theater completely.
Movies that weren’t even supposed to come out until 2022 are being pushed back.
A Cinemark representative explained to Spectrum News that the next film release on their schedule is Christopher Nolan’s TENET on July 17, meaning even if they would ensure the safety of their customers and staff now, there wouldn’t be anything for them to watch.
“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,” said a Cinemark representative in an email.
Spectrum News also reached out to AMC but did not get a response back. As of the publishing of this story, there were no show times available for movies this weekend in either Austin or San Antonio. Instead, the AMC website displayed this message for all theaters in both areas: This theatre is temporarily closed in accordance with local, state and federal guidelines. It will re-open when those guidelines allow. Please continue to check back here for updates.