Landmark Cinemas will reopen its B.C. locations on Friday with special precautions in place to ensure moviegoers have an enjoyable distanced experience, free from COVID-19 concerns.
Theatres will open with reduced capacity and spaced out seating, with three seats left empty for every two seats that are filled to adhere to physical distancing regulations.
Guests will be directed via emergency exits as they leave to avoid congestion in the lobby, have access to hand sanitizer stations throughout the whole experience, and interact with staff wearing face masks from behind plexiglass shields.
They’ve also invested in a new cleaning system for ensuring the cleanliness of the auditoriums, and committed to spraying the entire auditorium after every show, prior to the next group of cinema-goers arriving.
Walker says although they are pleased to be opening, it’s been an incredibly difficult time for the movie industry, especially for studios that intended to release movies this season.
“The marketing effort of a film is usually a four-week cycle, and so they’re trying to read four weeks into the future, and particularly in the U.S., which is quite difficult right now, and saying: Are we going to be in a place four weeks from now where I can release this film in New York, in New Jersey, in California, Texas, and find success with moviegoers where they’re comfortable to head out to theatres?,” Walker said.
“In Canada we’re in a very unique and favourable position where we believe we can offer a safe distanced experience at the movies without widespread community spread of the virus. What our experience has been so far in Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray is that most of our customers are feeling quite comfortable to do that. The U.S. is in a different spot where the virus is certainly spreading more rapidly and people are making difficult decisions on whether they allow theatres to open and if they’re open, whether they go.”
But they’re finding creative ways to deal with the delays and offset some of the disappointment by releasing older movies that deserve another round on the big screen.
It’s been an exciting opportunity to open up their movie libraries to bring back beloved classics, Walker said.
Kelowna’s Grand 10 will be showing older classics like Dirty Dancing, Goonies, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Grease, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and Jaws, along with some more modern films like The Matrix, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
West Kelowna’s Xtreme will also be showing E.T., along with the entire Dark Knight trilogy, while movie goers in Penticton can see many of these films, in addition to Footloose.
They’ll also be re-releasing some movies that played in 2019 or earlier in 2020 that didn’t get a full run in the cinema due to the pandemic, such as Knives Out, 1917 and Dolittle.
Online reservations aren’t mandatory but are highly recommended for the purpose of adequate staffing, customer numbers and the ability to contact trace, should there be an exposure event at a movie screening.
For information on movie showings, visit the Landmark Cinemas website.
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