Movie theatres across Canada have opened their doors to the public once again after Covid-19 caused major business closures back in March.
As of Aug. 20, all 164 Cineplex cinemas across the nation have officially reopened, and audiences are now welcome to get their fair share of popcorn and entertainment.
Canada’s other major cinema chain, Landmark Cinemas, has select locations open, such as the Kitchener and Waterloo locations. The reopening of theatres, means movies in which production was halted due to COVID-19, are now back on track, while cinemas themselves are slowly adjusting to the new normal, and attempting to provide a safe viewing experience for audiences.
Landmark Cinemas 10 in Waterloo has been open since early August, and has seen multiple substantial movie releases such as Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge on the Run, and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. So far, the new Spongebob film has amassed roughly $4 million in the Canadian box office, while Tenet has made near $30 million. These numbers seem great, but compared to the films’ financial budget, the filmmakers will be losing out on a large portion of funds thanks to COVID-19.
Both films have received positive reviews, but thanks to COVID-19, it’s unlikely the films will surpass their budget, as many individuals might not be ready to head to the cinema just yet. Jordan Tessmer, a University of Guelph student, and frequent movie-goer before the pandemic, said: “I haven’t gone yet because it doesn’t feel the same and with the new regulations, I think it wouldn’t be as enjoyable.”
Tessmer added, “I agree with the new regulations in terms of safety but I think it definitely effects the movie experience. It just doesn’t feel the same when everyone in the theatre is so spread apart. The experience is more like an at home movie and with everything that’s going I feel that most people, myself included, would rather be in the comfort of their home as opposed to the theatre with the new regulations.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Jacob Hart, a 20-year-old Waterloo region resident, said, “I have been to theatres since they’ve reopened. My experience was pretty normal. It was just like I was going to the movies pre-COVID-19 honestly. There were a few things that were different, and it was obviously a lot less busy. There were rules we had to follow because of COVID-19, but it was a pretty normal experience otherwise.”
When Hart was asked about his willingness to go back to the cinema, Hart said, “There were a few movies I was looking forward to seeing before the pandemic that were delayed, and if they were to come out now I do believe it would be enough to bring me back into theatres. I think the safety precautions of the movies are very well done, they limit the people in the lobby at a time, and only a certain amount of people are allowed in the different theatres at a time. Not to mention they disinfect literally everything. I don’t believe it affects your movie going experience whatsoever though.”
With the reopening of movie theatres, cinema employees are now back to work as well. Cody Mitchell, an employee at Landmark Cinemas 10 in Waterloo, said: “It’s been an experience, that’s for sure. When I got the call asking for me to come back to work, I was mostly shocked. Shocked because I didn’t expect theatres to open for a while, but here I am. There are a lot of guidelines and procedures we have to follow thanks to the pandemic. Cleaning is a huge one, as were basically cleaning the entire building every thirty minutes, and all the theatres after each and every audience viewing.”
Mitchell added, “I hope I can eventually come to work without having to a wear a face mask, because it gets really hot behind the cash registers. Mostly thanks to the popcorn, and other hot food.”
With films such as Marvel’s Black Widow, James Bond’s No Time to Die, Wonder Woman 1984, Death on the Nile, The King’s Man, and more on the way, it’s tough to say whether or not audiences will be ready to come back to theatres, enjoy a good blockbuster movie, and eat some popcorn just yet.