Let's try this again. Regal Cinemas has announced a new reopening date. The second-largest movie theater chain in the U.S. has announced that it is planning to resume operations beginning on August 21. This comes just days after the company announced that it would be delaying its previously announced reopening date, which had been set for July 31.
The move follows Warner Bros. announcement that Christopher Nolan's Tenet will be rolling out internationally first, while making its debut in select U.S. cities starting in September. Most theater chains have been setting their reopening plans around the arrival of new blockbusters. That has made things tricky, as the dates keep shifting. Regal is owned by Cineworld, which is one of the largest theater operators in the U.K. Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, had this to say in a statement.
"Welcoming theatergoers back to our cinemas will be a celebration for not only our team and our industry, but most importantly for the fans who have been anxiously awaiting the year's upcoming releases. With the health and safety of our staff, customers and communities as our top priority, we are happy to invite audiences to return to the timeless theatrical experience that we have all dearly missed."
Much like AMC and Cinemark, Regal will be implementing a host of new safety measures once theaters do reopen. The chain once again updated its website with a new list of policies. For one, customers will be required to wear a face mask in the lobby or anywhere outside of the theater itself. Though they will be permitted to take them off while eating or drinking in the auditorium, which may make it difficult to enforce the policy during the movie. That part of Regal's policy reads as follows.
"Guests will be required to wear face masks in the lobby, hallways and restrooms and can remove them inside the auditorium while eating and drinking."
Theaters have been closed in the U.S. since mid-March. The months-long shutdown has been brutal for the exhibition business, with AMC, the nation's largest chain, near bankruptcy. It is expected that if theaters aren't able to resume operations soon that theaters will begin to close. Or, at the very least, change hands, as bankruptcy filings will undoubtedly be coming.
While the plan is to show older classics and former hits at first, that can't sustain these businesses in the long run. Especially with reduced auditorium capacity. At the same time, studios can't risk releasing a movie like Tenet, which carried a steep $200 million budget, without a relative guarantee of return at the box office. As such, a large number of big movies have been pushed to much later in the year, if not well into 2021. Russell Crowe's Unhinged and Antebellum, a new horror/thriller from Lionsgate, are both currently set to hit theaters on August 21. You can check out the company's full list of new health and safety measures over at RegalMovies.com.