While drive-ins of all shapes and sizes have kept us occupied and entertained over the last several months, movie theaters are preparing to end their intermission – including Marcus Theatres, which today announced its intention to begin reopening to the public on Friday, June 19, starting with four theaters in Wisconsin: the Marcus Ridge Cinema in New Berlin, the Marcus Renaissance Cinema in Sturtevant, the BistroPlex in Greendale and the Marcus Grand Valley Cinema in Appleton.
The four Marcus locations will begin with opening four days a week – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as Tuesdays – with staggered showtimes to avoid crowds and allow time for increased cleaning as well as limited hours, opening their doors late morning and closing in the early evening. Tickets for all movies will cost $5 with the reopening lineup of films consisting of popular titles from earlier in the year ("The Invisible Man," "Sonic the Hedgehog," "Bad Boys for Life") as well as classic movies such as "Jurassic Park," "E.T.," "Batman Begins" and the Harry Potter movies. Standard ticket pricing will apply to brand new films when they begin releasing once again.
The most important part of any reopening plan right now, however, is safety and health. The key COVID-fighting initiative of Marcus Theatres' reopening plans is its "Movie S.T.A.R." health and safety program, which stands for social distancing, thorough cleaning, app ordering of concessions and tickets to cut back on contact interactions, and respecting your fellow patrons.
Moviegoers will be encouraged to wear masks in public areas (and certainly stay home if feeling sick), purchasing tickets and concessions via low-contact transactions on the Marcus app will be emphasized and promoted, and hand sanitizer will be made readily available throughout theater locations. As for employees, Marcus workers will be required to pass health checks as well as wear gloves and masks during their shifts, and an increased emphasis will be placed on regular cleanings – particularly of high-contact areas.
Concession stands will be open with their usual menus of snacks, candy and soda, but theater food delivery will be canceled for this reopening period, with customers required to pick up their orders from a designated area. The theater bars and lounges will open as well, albeit without table service, while Zaffiro's in-theater locations will also reopen with social distanced tables, a limit of six guests per party and other health and safety guidelines being followed.
Inside the auditoriums, seating will still be reserved but with limited capacity and seats left unoccupied between moviegoers and groups in order to implement and encourage social distancing. After the credits roll, moviegoers will be asked to leave while still respecting social distancing, take out their trash and avoid gathering in the lobby and other crowded places.
All of these health and safety policies will continue to be reassessed and updated regularly according to CDC guidelines and the latest health information.
"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, president and CEO of Marcus Theatres, in a release. "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."
For more information on their reopening plans, visit Marcus Theatres' website – and if you still prefer the secluded safety of your own car, here's info on the company's Parking Lot Cinema at the Marcus Majestic in Brookfield.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.