NYC movie theaters are reopening, and it’s got us in our feelings

"Times Square: AMC Empire 25 Cinema" by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Times Square: AMC Empire 25 Cinema” by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As the one year mark of the closure approaches, Governor Andrew Cuomo has officially given the green light for New York City movie theaters to reopen. Starting March 5th, movie theaters will be allowed open at 25% capacity and must follow the following protocol:

  1. A limit of 50 people per screen
  2. Mask requirement
  3. Socially distant assigned seating
  4. Air Filtration system that meet New York’s standards

These social distancing protocols are in accordance with the rest of New York State’s rules for theatres, put into place in October of last year. Governor Cuomo has set to ease coronavirus restrictions on businesses, such as bars, restaurants and wedding venues in hopes to re-energize the economy. 

Nearly one year later, a new chapter for the movie theater and film industry.

This new announcement marks a brand new chapter for an industry that has been left in the dark. New York City theaters have had their doors closed since March of 2020; the reopening date marks nearly one year since restrictions and closures were put into place. The pre-pandemic 2020 Oscars were just one year ago, moments before everything changed.

Although the film industry isn’t out of the woods quite yet, the governor’s announcement marks the beginning of a new and hope-filled chapter.

On Monday, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) released a statement:

“New York City is a major market for moviegoing in the U.S.; re-opening there gives confidence to film distributors in setting and holding their theatrical release dates, and is an important step in the recovery of the entire industry. We look forward to expanding the capacity from 25% to 50% in the very near future so that theatres can operate profitably.” 

Following Monday’s news, Hollywood.com Chief Operating Officer Greg Sica spoke with Joe Masher, president of the New York State chapter of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO). “We are pleased to be able to finally reopen our theaters in New York City. NATO’s CinemaSafe protocols have proven successful in keeping our guests and employees safe, in fact there have been zero cases traced to a movie theater,” Masher said. “With Los Angeles hopefully not too far behind, the studios should have the confidence to keep their titles on the release calendar and provide great choices for eager audiences.” 

AMC Entertainment, one of the nation’s largest movie theater chains, announced that they will reopen all 13 locations across five boroughs––mostly in Manhattan––promptly on March 5th. 

Reopening theaters in the city is a new chapter for locations that have been closed for nearly a year. With signs of returning to normalcy, investors are once again turning their attention to AMC and other entertainment stocks. The AMC stock was up by almost 16% on Tuesday morning following Cuomo’s announcement. 

Everyone is ready for a return to normalcy.

The past year has shown us all that nothing compares to the experience of going to the movie theaters––especially after nearly one year of going without.

In a March 2020 opinion piece for The Washington Post, filmmaker Christopher Nolan eloquently described the significance of the movie theater experience:

“In uncertain times, there is no more comforting thought than that we’re all in this together, something the moviegoing experience has been reinforcing for generations…We need what movies can offer us. Maybe, like me, you thought you were going to the movies for surround sound, or Goobers, or soda and popcorn, or movie stars. But we weren’t. We were there for each other.”

For large studios like Disney and Universal, this timing is crucial for upcoming big releases like Black Widow and F9

“We are thrilled,” says Mitchell Rubenstein, principal owner of Hollywood.com. “This announcement comes at a crucial time for the film and movie theater industry, and we’re excited to get back to the movies.”

Movie theaters mean everything to us––and we’re pretty emotional about it.

While it’s been nice to be able to watch movies on streaming platforms for the past year, movies are meant to be seen on the big screen––and we’re never going to take it for granted again.

Here’s what people are saying on Twitter about heading back to the movie theatres:

Never ever going to take it for granted.

There’s nothing quite like it.

Let’s be honest, movie theater popcorn is priceless.

The JOY though!

It’s a love language.

Ah, there’s no feeling quite like it.

*all the feels*

Worth every penny..

Give us all the popcorn plz.

Deep down, this is all we want.

You won’t have to miss the movies much longer!

It’s much harder to avoid your phone at home.

Honestly, who needs the club when you can go to the movies?

Holding hands with friends during the scary scenes>>>

It’s really such a vibe.

We will seriously never take it for granted, ever again.

Ready to head back to the movies? See what movie theaters are open near you.

While locations across the country have been permitted to reopen based on state guidelines, AMC and other large theaters have not yet been permitted to open in major markets like Los Angeles and New York. 

Find out which movie theaters are open near you:

Use this tool to search for an AMC movie theater near you.

Use this tool to search for a Cinemark movie theater near you. 

Use this tool to search for a Paragon movie theater near you. 

Use this tool to search for a Marcus movie theater near you. 

Use this tool to search for a Bow Tie movie theater near you. 

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