Reopening Texas: Movie Theaters Can Open, Many Decide to Wait

Starting Friday, movie theaters are allowed to open at 25% capacity

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Gov. Greg Abbott’s phase one of the reopening of the state will see the inclusion of restaurants, movie theaters and malls – though some will choose to wait a while before opening their doors.

Starting Friday, those businesses are allowed to open at 25% capacity.

Theaters for the most part are taking it slow when it comes to opening again.

“We are a business that thrives on bringing crowds together and this is obviously not the time to be doing that,” said Jimmy Sweeney, owner of Grand Berry Theater in Fort Worth.

Sweeney’s theater had just started hitting its stride when the COVID-19 Crisis cased nationwide closures.

“We officially opened August of 2019, so I guess it’s been 8 months now,” Sweeney said.

While he is not ready to open up for the full movie experience just yet, he is open to allowing rentals.

“We will not be opening for normal showtimes. The only thing that is going to change for us starting Friday is that we will allow groups of 15 people or less… to come in and rent the theater to get a change of scenery,” he said.

Many theaters are taking the slow road back to service and much of that has to a lack of films to show.

“Almost every studio has pushed it’s releases back to at least July,” Sweeney said.

The Grand Berry is an Arthouse Theater and may have more luck getting titles to view from independent studios.

“One studio in particular, IFC, at the end of May, is making their entire catalogue available free of charge to theaters,” Sweeney said. “All of their titles will be free for us to play.”

North Texas-based Cinemark also released a statement saying:

“As Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi discussed on an April 15 liquidity strategy call with investors, Cinemark is currently working toward a mid-summer opening date, contingent upon health and safety regulations, as well as availability of studio content. The first release currently scheduled is Christopher Nolan’s TENET set for July 17. It is important to note that the theatrical exhibition’s return to ‘normalcy’ may span multiple months, driven by staggered theatre openings due to government limits, reduced operating hours, lingering social distancing and a ramp up of consumer comfort with public gatherings.”

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