Marcus Theaters, the fourth largest circiut in the U.S., Thursday announced plans to reopen six theaters on June 19 with enhanced protocols in accordance with current local health and safety guidelines that will be used help fine-tune future phases of theatre reopenings in weeks ahead, in time for summer blockbusters based on when studios release new films.
It will start four days a week with limited hours showing classic movies, Harry Potter films and titles whose runs were interrupted in theaters when the industry shuttered in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, including Sonic the Hedgehog; Bad Boys for Life; Jumanji: The Next Level; and The Invisible Man.
Headquartered in Milwaukee, the chain plans to restart the Marcus Ridge, Renaissance, BistroPlex and Valley Grand Cinemas in Wisconsin; Majestic Cinema of Omaha in Nebraska; and the Roswell Movie Tavern in Georgia. The company owns or operates 1,110 screens at 91 locations in 17 states under the Marcus Theatres, Movie Tavern by Marcus and BistroPlex brands. It’s also a major owner of hotels and resorts.
“We continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of Marcus Theatres and Movie Tavern by Marcus guests and associates, and have been very thoughtful about the reopening process we are implementing,” said Rolando Rodriguez, chairman-CEO of Marcus Theatres. “We know people are eager to return to theatres for movies on the big screen provided they feel confident that we’ve created a safe and comfortable environment – and that consumer confidence is very important to us. The steps are in place, associates are trained, and we are now ready and excited to welcome guests back.”
As part of the initial reopening experience, Marcus Theatres is introducing what it’s calling a ‘Movie STAR approach, which incorporates new health and safety measures in alignment with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. “Everyone can be a Movie STAR and play a role in creating a safe environment with social distancing (S); Thorough cleaning (T); App and website ordering of tickets, food and concessions for no-to-low contact interactions (A); and respecting each other by following these new protocols (R) — equals STAR,
Policies and guidelines will continue to evolve with time and will be assessed and updated on an ongoing basis, the company said.
Upon reopening, additional measures include:
- Company will conduct associate wellness checks and implement the use of face masks, as well as the use of gloves as appropriate during the associate’s shift
- Guests will be encouraged to wear face masks in public areas and stay home if sick
- Low-contact options for ticket and concessions/food purchases will be available through the app and website
- There will be an increased frequency of cleaning, especially high-touch surfaces
- Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the theatre
- In-theatre signs will encourage proper social distancing
Hours, Product & Price
- At first, theatres will be open four days per week – Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays – with an expectation to ultimately return to seven days per week
- Initially, hours of operation will be limited, opening late morning and closing early evening
- The app or website will provide available showtimes
- Magical Movie Rewards Members will receive free popcorn on Tuesdays
Movies that were popular when theatres closed will be featured for reopening including: Sonic the Hedgehog; Bad Boys for Life; Jumanji: The Next Level; The Invisible Man; and more.
- Also showing will be retro classic movies. A Harry Potter Series will start June 19
- Upon reopening every movie will cost $5 (no upcharges)
- When new movies are released, standard pricing will apply
- Low-contact food ordering will be highly encouraged through the Marcus Theatres app and website
- Concession stands will be open, serving the traditional menu – popcorn, soda, candy, nachos, etc.
- In-theatre dining auditoriums initially will not have delivery to seats upon reopening
- Food orders will be picked up in a designated area
- Menus will stick to favorites such as appetizers, pizzas, chicken tenders and burgers to start
- Theatre bars/lounges will be open, but table service will be temporarily unavailable. Drinks will be welcome in auditoriums
- Zaffiro’s restaurants will open with proper spacing between tables, a maximum of six guests per party and other safety enhancements in alignment with theatre practices and local government guidelines
- Guests will still reserve seats. A checkerboard seating pattern and a couple of empty seats between groups allows for proper social distancing in accordance with the CDC
- Although capacity will be limited, groups can be seated together upon arrival at the theatre and in accordance with state regulations, provided accommodations are available
- Staggered showtimes will limit the number of people in common areas of the theatre, and extra time between shows will allow the time for thorough cleanings
- Following the movie, guests will be asked to exit while practicing social distancing between groups, dispose of all trash and avoid congregating in the lobby
“While our theatres have been on intermission these past few months, we’ve been creative about how to maintain the connection with our guests,” said Rodriguez. “Offering curbside pickup and online ordering of theatre favorites like popcorn and treats, and introducing three Parking Lot Cinemas helped do just that. We were also hard at work enhancing our app and website to make it easy to order food – even before you get to the theatre. And, now it’s time to reconnect with the community at the movies. The process may look a little different to start, but it doesn’t take away from the excitement of bringing back the theatre-going experience and seeing our valued guests. We can’t wait!”
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