Thursday 26 November, 2020

IMAX, Gemstone theatres to open next week

While cinemas across Trinidad and Tobago open today with new releases, IMAX and Gemstone theatres won’t be open until at least next week.

Movie theatre exhibitors agreed to reopen only after restrictions were lifted to allow the consumption of food and drink. This ban was lifted in the latest adjustment of COVID-19 regulations on Saturday.

CinemaONE Limited CEO Ingrid Jahra told Loop News there’s still a lot to be done in terms of logistics before their theatres can be back up and running.

She said: “Just as with the last lifting of restrictions our opening was a week later. We won’t be opening today along with the other cinemas because we’re still getting things in place.”

After being closed for around three months we have a lot of ground to cover. We have to begin marketing, get in contact with our suppliers and engage in the retraining of staff.”

“There’s a lot of work to be done in the background before we can welcome back our patrons.”

Jahra said patrons can look forward to that announcement on the reopening in due course.

What moviegoers can be assured of is fresh, solid content everyone can enjoy, she said. As it relates to new releases, she said CinemaONE is looking at Christmas to see what’s good in the season.

Jahra said the response from IMAX and Gemstone patrons throughout the period of closure has been overwhelming.

“Everyone has been asking when we will open and it’s really heartening. It’s clear to us there is that appetite for content and people are ready to come back out to cinemas.”

She said CinemaONE is taking a very measured approach but asked patrons for patience and understanding during this time as their preparations get underway.

“Be patient with us, we will be back soon. Rest assured we are anxious to serve you guys.”

She encouraged moviegoers to go out and see a movie at MovieTowne and Caribbean Cinemas theatres which open today.

The CinemaONE CEO noted that there would be some who prefer to stay at home and enjoy all that streaming content platforms have to offer, but encouraged them to come out and enjoy the energy and experience one can only get in a movie theatre.

“People are ready to come together and have a shared experience. People want to get out of the house and have that human contact and that much needed human experience – movies lend to that type of letting go, that escapism that people want right now.”

She said current trends in the market prove that people want to go out to cinemas.

“The fact that people have been going out to see mid-tier movies in their numbers proves people want to come out and have popcorn popped by someone else and sit in a dark room.”

Jahra said the industry has been responsible and there have been no cases of anyone contracting COVID-19 from a movie theatre.

She said the checkerboard seating arrangement, social distancing, and little interaction between patrons mitigates against the probability of anyone contracting COVID-19 in the cinema setting.

On the opening of its South theatre, Jahra said it’s still has a way to go before that but construction continues apace.

There’s no definitive timeline in that regard, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.

“We won’t be open in time for November but the opening of a South theatre will happen. We can’t say when just yet because we’re still looking at how things progress with COVID-19.”

Jahra said, however, she’s encouraged by the daily number of infections trending downwards and is hopeful this continues into the new year.

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