Movie theaters in several major U.S. cities are set to reopen this week after being shut since March due to the global health crisis, with noticeable changes aimed at convincing customers it's safe to come back to the movies.
There are now hand sanitizing stations... instead of standing in line to buy popcorn and other goodies, moviegoers can simply just pick up their order after purchasing through an app - and of course there's social distancing before and after customers get inside the movie theater. But it all starts with buying a ticket says Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, which owns Regal Cinemas in the U.S.
"We have fixed our ticket sales software to keep social distancing between transactions. So, a family will sit together, people that came together in the same car also can sit together. But there will be a distance between them and the other groups that are buying for the same movie."
In order to lure customers back, theaters are slashing prices at the door and beyond. AMC, the world's biggest theater chain, is selling 15-cent tickets for opening day on Thursday. After that, tickets for classic movies such as "Grease" and "Ghostbusters" will cost $5. Popcorn, snacks and beverages will be discounted as well. Regal will reopen its doors on Friday.
But it's going to take more than just cheap tickets and nostalgia to convince moviegoers that it's safe to go back to the movies - and so masks are a must.
"This will be the rules. You come, you need to put a mask. We will have spare masks in the cinema if somebody forgot. Once you are seated you can of course remove the mask. You want to eat your popcorn or to drink your coke. Then you put it on again."
The rollout this week, which will include new releases such as the Russell Crowe thriller "Unhinged", is seen as a preview for the main show...Labor Day weekend, that's when the movie industry hopes it will kick-off the real revival when Christopher Nolan's thriller "Tenet" hits the big screen.
But there's a plot twist: Any chance of an industry comeback will be dimmed without two of America's biggest movie-going cities: Los Angeles and New York.
Both are still not onboard with theaters reopening.