Theaters across the country are reopening after being closed for months. Many, like Hollywood 10 Cinemas in Scottsboro closed early in March and haven’t been able to open their doors since. Now the locally owned theater has reopened for business.
Hollywood 10 Cinemas have implemented various new safety precautions in an attempt to protect guests from COVID-19.
Face masks will be required for all customers, and staff. Masks will be worn except when eating and drinking. The theater will be operating at 50% capacity in the auditorium, with every other row blocked off and patrons will be asked to leave seats in between them and other guests to observe social distancing protocols.
“We want to make sure our customers are safe not make a lot of money,” said Hollywood 10 Cinemas General Manager Amanda Heard, about the cinema’s reduction in capacity.
The theater is also implementing contactless payment where possible, online ticket sales, and employees will change gloves after handling cash payments.
The theater’s auditoriums will be cleaned in between showings, this will extend the time between showings of films but will allow for all hard surfaces to be cleaned in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Hollywood 10 is only utilizing six out of its 10 theaters at the moment but will be deep cleaning and sanitizing all of its theaters once each week as a precaution.
Large theater chains have signaled that reopening was necessary for them to continue financially. But the locally owned and operated Hollywood 10 was especially hurt by the forced closure in March.
“Any revenue is better than none,” said Heard.
Employees of the theater have dealt with unemployment and financial difficulties during a season which usually represents a boom for the theater industry.
With some notable films skipping in-person releases and going straight to streaming services, moviegoers will be met with a difficult choice as cases continue to rise in much of Alabama.
Out of the four films the theater is showing, “Jurassic Park,” “Bill and Ted Face the Music,” Marvel’s “The New Mutants,” and “Tenant.” Three of them are already available on streaming platforms.
Other notable releases from major studios aren’t coming to theaters at all. Disney’s “Mulan” exclusively released through the company’s digital service on Sept. 4.
“Mulan releasing on Disney+ really hurt us,” said Heard adding that Disney films always draw large crowds to the movie theater.
Heard hopes that the experience of going to the movie theater and the precautions put in place by Hollywood 10 will entice guests back in.
“There’s something that doesn’t beat the theater experience that people share that we love,” said Heard.
For those who may be looking for something different to draw them back in Heard said that Hollywood 10 is willing to work with them. Options include alternative older film options or allowing patrons to rent out entire theaters for them and their families.
“We’re open to try to give them options,” said Heard about potential for the Hollywood 10 to rent out whole theaters to church groups interested supporting the theater.
For those who don’t yet feel safe returning to the theater Heard encourages them to support their local business in other ways. Remarking that one customer comes in and buys popcorn from the theater regularly.
“If you want to support us, there’s always ways to support us,” she said. Heard encourages those looking for options to message her through Hollywood 10 Cinema’s Facebook page.
The theater offers gift card options that would allow patrons to support the theater now and potentially see a film released in the theater at a later date. Notable releases from later in the year include Wonder Woman, Candyman and Black Widow, though these are constantly changing.
“We want to see people back because we miss ‘em,” added Heard, and reiterated that the theater is locally owned and operated. “We’ve missed people and missed interacting with people.”