Movie theaters have been inactive for a while, ever since the advent of the COVID-19 health crisis and lockdown.

But the curtain will rise again soon, as movie theaters are preparing to re-open. The big questions are: What restrictions and safety measures can we expect, what new movies can we we enjoy, and what will the movie-going experience look and feel like in the near future? The folks at NewYorkUpstate.com got some answers from Regal Cinemas, the nation's second-largest movie house, with three cinemas in the Syracuse area. They plan to re-open July 10th.

Here's some of what we can expect at Regal Cinemas, which may apply to Marquee Cinemas, and other smaller theaters, such as the one on the campus of Colgate University in Hamilton:

  • An overall reduction in seating capacity, with two empty seats between groups
  • Employees and patrons wearing masks where required (perhaps not while seated, just like restaurants)
  • Contactless payment for tickets and concession items through an app
  • Employees sanitizing auditoriums with new electrostatic ‘fogger’ equipment
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere
  • No use of vending machines, water fountains, and arcade games
  • No refills on drinks and popcorn

AMC and Regal are the two largest movie chains in the U.S., with over 500 locations each. Marquee owns 17 outlets, including the one in New Hartford.

As for the flicks themselves, only five films are scheduled for theatrical release in July:

Unhinged. A psychological thriller, starring Russell Crowe, about a road rage incident taken to another level. Opens July 10. No reviews yet.

The Broken Hearts Gallery. What if there were a pop-up store featuring all the items from broken relationships? Opens July 17. Unrated by critics on RottenTomatoes.com.

Saint Maud. A thriller about a hospice nurse who's infatuated with a patient and becomes possessed. Opens July 17. Critcs on RottenTomatoes.com have given it an approval rating of 93%.

Mulan. Disney's live-action version of the cartoon. Opens July 24. No reviews yet.

Tenet. International adventure and science fiction from director Chris Nolan (Memento and Inception) and starring Robert Pattinson. Opens July 31. Not yet reviewed.

Other blockbuseters originally scheduled for a 2020 release (Marvel’s Black Widow, Ghostbusters: AfterlifeTop Gun: Maverick, and James Bond’s No Time to Die) are in a holding pattern.

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