With all of the difficult stuff going on in the world, a little good news: Starting Friday, Stadium 9 in Durango will be firing up the projectors and movies will return – safely.
Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Hollywood ceased film production, so there’s no new content to play yet. However, Allen Theatres, which owns Stadium 9 (and the Gaslight Theatre), will be open with “Comeback Classics,” some older films, said Kara Young, director of operations for Allen Theatres.
For now, movies playing will include “Avengers” (2012), “Zootopia,” “The Greatest Showman” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Tickets for all shows are $5, and Young said showtimes should be on the Allen Theatres’ website by Wednesday afternoon.
As far as new movies, Young said it looks like new releases should start rolling out around July 10.
“It’s going to be slow,” she said. “And then as we get further and further along, more and more will open. It’s really kind of based on the larger chains – AMC , Cinemark – when those guys are fully operational, then Hollywood will really start putting movies out.”
Moviegoers should also keep an eye out for the free kids’ summer series, which is scheduled to start next Wednesday, July 1. (For movies and showtimes, visit www.allentheatresinc.com.)
As for the Gaslight, Young said the downtown theater may open soon, depending on how much interest there is for people to head back into theaters.
For those worrying about safety, Young said protocols are in place:
Social distancing: The theater’s program for ticketing is set up so that when people buy tickets, the two seats to the left and right of them will automatically be taken out of the system to purchase, Young said. The theater is still doing reserved seating, and the seating chart online will show that the seats are reserved, and if someone tries to buy the seat next to them, a pop-up will appear on the screen saying that seat is not for sale.Disinfecting: Young said the theaters have purchased disinfectant fogger machines, similar to what airplanes use but portable. And there is an hour between every show to ensure there is enough time to disinfect the entire theater – every seat, every cupholder, every handrail, the door handles, everything will be disinfected after every single showing, she said. Masks: The theater’s staff will all be wearing masks, which is required. Young said customers are asked to wear masks in the lobby area, but once in the theater and having snacks, they can take their masks off. And while movie theaters may be slow getting back to where they were pre-COVID-19, their reopening is one more little thing that can help people get through the trauma of the last few months – it’s a way to boost people’s morale, Young said.
“Everybody’s been closed down for so long, and it brings just a small piece of normalcy back into everyone’s lives,” she said. “And if we can do it safely – restaurants are doing it safely and other places are doing it safely – it’s a good way to escape. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world today, and if you can go inside a nice air-conditioned place and forget about your worries for a couple of hours, that does a lot for the mindset. We certainly hope that the community wants to go, and hopefully, they feel safe enough to go, and we think it will be really good for everyone.”