Director Dave Franco and cast member Alison Brie react as they take part in a Q&A session via Zoom from a vehicle after an advanced screening for the movie “The Rental” at the Vineland Drive-In movie theater in City of Industry, California, U.S. June 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

As movie theatres join other businesses in fully reopening this summer, many will employ a diverse set of measures to ensure safety during the pandemic.

Some smaller theatres in the country are already open and will enforce new regulations such as limiting capacity and requiring the use of masks by customers and employees. Large chain theatres Regal Cinemas and AMC Theatres announced that they will open late this month. Regal Cinemas will reopen July 31, while AMC Theatres will employ a phased reopening with 450 locations on July 30 and the remaining 150 the following week. New York state will implement stricter precautionary measures on theatres located within large malls, requiring them to install new air filtration systems that remove coronavirus particles from the air. The movie industry has also adjusted to the new theatre guidelines. Release dates for “Mulan” and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” originally slated as big summer blockbusters, were delayed until August or even September. 

In lieu of risking attendance at a newly re-opened theatre, moviegoers are finding new (and old) ways to enjoy the big screen. Drive-in theatres are once again a popular option across the country for convenience and a natural structure that allows for social distancing. Others have set up DIY home theatres, some without even having access to backyards. One Atlanta couple used an empty parking space in their apartment complex and added a piece of turf, a projector, and a couple of lawn chairs.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Movie Theaters Get a Painful Extended Intermission – Wall Street Journal – 7/1/20 That beatdown might seem logical, given the recent unsettling trend of the pandemic. But theater operators have actually fared far worse of late than other seemingly more risky groups in the crowd-based entertainment business. Pure-play theme park operators Six Flags, SeaWorld and Cedar Fair fell only 16% during the month, on average, while cruise ship operators Norwegian Cruise and Carnival actually both gained more than 4% in that time. Movie chains are also some of the most damaged stocks for the year, averaging a loss of 60% so far compared with 54% for the theme park group.

Mandatory masks and empty seats: Here’s what to expect when movie theaters reopen – USA Today – 7/1/20 Most indoor theaters are taking precautions to ensure proper social distancing and reduce in-person contact while allowing moviegoers to enjoy new Hollywood films such as Disney’s live-action “Mulan” (slated for Aug. 21) and Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller “Tenet” (Aug. 12). Sanitation measures include contactless payment options and reduced auditorium capacities. Theaters will have to be extra cautious, says Phil Contrino, director of media and research for the National Association of Theatre Owners. But he’s still optimistic about bringing back an “experience that a lot of people miss.”

The Wild Story of the First Movie Made Entirely During Quarantine – Vanity Fair – 6/30/20 The horror comedy is about a group of needy and desperate young stars from a once-popular TV series who learn, via video conference, that their show has just been canceled. Fearing obscurity, they decide to stay in the spotlight by making a quickie horror film—but while shooting it, they perform a ritual that accidentally invokes an actual demonic spirit. Mayhem follows. “We kind of described it going into it as Scream meets For Your Consideration,” Simon said.

AMC Theaters delays reopening by 2 weeks amid coronavirus concerns – Fox News – 6/30/20 The company had planned to begin opening theaters in mid-July, but last week the July theatrical release calendar was effectively wiped clean when Disney and Warner Bros. decided to delay the releases of “Mulan” and “Tenet.” The films now have August premiere dates.

Everything You Need For The Ultimate Backyard Movie Night – Forbes – 6/30/20 A projector and screen are the first two must-have items to consider — you need something to play the movie and something to watch it on. Then there are speakers. If sound quality is important to you, or you have a particularly big yard, using a separate speaker will make sure spotty or faint audio is never an issue. And then there’s seating. Maybe you’ve already got perfectly fine deck chairs or pool loungers, but something low to the ground and extra comfortable will make taking in a full-length feature that much more enjoyable.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Nicole Madden on Twitter, 7/1/20: Speedway is transforming into a drive-in! Tonight’s feature will be the Goonies (anyone else LOVE that movie?!) Show starts at 7pm with fireworks to follow around 9pm! @WilsonsWorld#WCCB

Nicola Khurt on Twitter, 7/1/20: “Right now, there are no movie theaters. The screens are on our walls, in our pockets.” @BarryJenkins spoke with @davidlsims about the best films he’s been watching in quarantine, including “Train to Busan,” “Solaris,” and “Selah and the Spades.”

Jason Fraley on Twitter, 7/1/20: With movie theaters closed for at least another month, I have compiled the BEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME for you to stream. Enjoy! #bestmovies #letsmovie

Jimmy Palmiotti on Twitter, 7/1/20: If movie theaters die out, I am building a home theatre in my back yard. Forget saving for a pool.

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