A Beacon of Neon Light in These Dark Times: Movie Theaters Open Up Once Again

Movie theaters attempt to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing new safety protocols in an attempt to draw more people in.

Courtesy of Starlight Cinemas

Movie theaters attempt to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing new safety protocols in an attempt to draw more people in.

Faith DeSio, Photojournalist

As people all know by now COVID-19 has affected pretty much every aspect of our lives. Ever since March 13th, things have been so different. The coronavirus has deeply impacted the way restaurants operate, salons function, shopping centers run, and even movie theaters. 

However, Starlight Cinemas announced that they were going to open their doors again on September 11th, 2020, sending movie-lovers into a frenzy! Companies such as Disney, Marvel, DC, Sony, Paramount Pictures, and Universal have delayed the release dates of their upcoming movies by months. Some of the most anticipated movies that were set to come out in 2020 include Black Widow, Soul, Wonder Woman 1984, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and A Quiet Place Part II. Many people were devastated that their favorite movie got its release date pushed back until a later, unknown time. 

In response to this, Disney did experiment with releasing some of their movies onto Disney+. The company was trying to “save” us from our quarantine boredom. On April 3rd, 2020 the new animated adventure movie Onward was released for free on Disney+ (THEVERGE). On September 13th, 2020 the new Mulan movie was available to stream on Disney Plus for $30. These movies did not do as well as they hoped, leading Disney to not release more movies on the platform. 

Because of this, it was a shock when Warner Bros. Pictures launched their new movie, Tenet, into theaters on September 3rd, 2020. This is one of the very few new movies in theaters currently. Some other new movies playing in theaters include Bill and Ted Face the Music and New Mutants. In an attempt to get movie-lovers to come to the physical theater again, many companies are also playing old, classic movies to give viewers more options since most new movies have been delayed. 

Going to the movies in 2020 looks much different now. For example, more regulations have been made in theaters such as “proper PPE must be worn, social distancing is in place, auditoriums have to function at 25% capacity, hand sanitizer can be found throughout the building, and a minimum of 2 empty seats between parties in rows with guest seating is required. Employees who interact directly with guests are required to wear a face mask and face shield” (STARLIGHTCINEMAS). This includes people who work at the concession stand, ticket sellers/cashiers, and ushers. Guests must also wear masks the whole time in common areas and seating areas. There is also hand sanitizer throughout the theater that is recommended to be used by visitors frequently. One student, Carlie Nelson (9) stated her opinion and said “I think that going to the movies during this time is fine as long as everyone is being careful and making sure that they follow all protocols.” 

Now when people pass by a cinema in the area they can see the glowing “We’re Open” sign! The warm glow of the neon sign was a familiar sight that made me feel more “normal” in these abnormal times. I’m hoping that more and more movie fans will continue to visit the theater and that they will keep their doors open. If moviegoers frequent the theater, then hopefully many companies will be able to move up their release dates and new releases will become commonplace again.